Guest post by takhalus
The news from Peshawar is not good, wherever I went and whomever I spoke to I heard tales of sadness and tragedy. Whether it was of victims of blasts who were virtually unidentifiable by family, people who narrowly escaped being torn apart by ball bearings from blasts by tripping at the right moment, to the self employed and government employees whose cars, motorbikes and bicycles have been destroyed in blasts and now have no means of earning money or getting to work. Or the IDP’s who wept when, after walking barefoot from the hills of Landi Kotal and Bajaur wept as they were finally given sandals to wear by local charity workers.
What about the bomb victims of the attack on Gulshan Rehman colony for government employees in Peshawar? The victims haven’t received one penny in compensation from the govt..even the houses damaged in the attack haven’t been repaired yet! It seems like the federal and provincial government has given up on compensating people for all the attacks that have been happened.
The effect of all these attacks has been devastating, Peshawar airport has been the target of constant attacks by militants and all international flights to Peshawar have been cancelled. The local economy is in ruins with many businessmen relocating, restaurants are empty and schools are closed.
It’s not only civilians who have been hit, the military’s casualties have put immense strain on military medical services in Peshawar. Stories of patients being relocated to Rawalpindi because of bed shortages amidst rumours doing the rounds of an attack on Combined Military Hospital Peshawar.
Then you have the loss of pearl continental hotel, unlike Islamabad and the Marriott where there was a determined effort to rebuild the hotel and boost the morale of the locals… poor Peshawar has been abandoned and is now the only provincial capital to not have a five star hotel.
There is also the sale of whats left of pearl continental hotel to the US govt for a new consulate. Presently American aid organisations and consular staff are spread over the city but the purchase will conveniently place the US consulate next door to the Peshawar Corp commanders home. All of this has added grist to the rumours of “Blackwater” renting out large number of places and foreigners driving around at high speeds who are well armed.
The plight of the IDP’s is another issue, while many of the Swatis have returned to Swat, the story of the IDP’s is far from over..thousands more have been displaced from Khyber agency and now Waziristan.