Pakistan’s flood victims reluctant to return home


Islamabad : Many flood victims in Pakistan’s Sindh province, who were displaced by the devastating deluge and shifted to urban centres, are reluctant to go back home, a media report has revealed.

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These people consider this displacement a blessing, enabling them to leave the shackles of life in a tribal system, The News International reported.

Usman, 65, son of Saifal Naseerani of Shikarpur district, says people have become disheartened and want to break away from their earlier lives.

Stressing that their families were not safe, he said the plight of the people was pathetic. “The tribal jury decides about the fates of our girls and boys. Nobody can dare ask why their children are being killed,” he said.

In group discussions with displaced families organised by the Pakistan Institute of Labour Education and Research (PILER) at different relief camps, it was observed that people have different perceptions about returning home.

The survey by the NGO showed those having family land in their native areas wanted to shift back while those who lost everything were reluctant to do so.

“We know if we return to our native areas, the relief money will go in pockets of tribal chieftains. We were living in slavery. That is why we prefer to stay here and we should be given compensation here,” said one of the victims, Abdul Ghafoor.

A majority of the flood-affected people, mostly landless farmers, want to stay in urban centres in Sindh, especially Hyderabad and Karachi, and want the government to look into their problem sympathetically, the survey said.

Shujauddin Qureshi, senior researcher at PILER, said people displaced from different areas have different issues but exploitation is a common problem.

About 20 million people were displaced and 1,700 killed in the floods in Pakistan this year.