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Winning hearts and minds in Pakistan's tribal areas

Despite claims of success in the recent Waziristan operation, the people ofPakistan have very little hope of seeing peace in this volatile tribal area. Foreign and local media are restricted in the area and most of the news comes from the government. According to media news, 80 percent of the militants have moved into Afghanistan and other parts of the country where they have secret hideouts and the support of other extremist groups. As a result, instead of the militants, it is local residents who are paying a high price for the government's surgical strikes and air attacks. 

Sixty thousand people have been forced to leave their homes and are now living in miserable conditions. The government has no plan to settle these people and provide them with the daily necessities of life. The Pakistangovernment does not seem to realize that military operations are not a permanent solution for all problems. Despite Pakistan's requests, well-equipped NATO and Afghan forces are not able to monitor the frequent movement of militants from Pakistani border areas into Afghanistan. These militant groups are getting weapons and support from Afghanistanto carry out their attacks inside Pakistan.

Unfortunately, even after several aid packages have been provided by the US, the Pakistan tribal belt is still considered to be the poorest area of the country with no proper education and medical facilities. Due to the security situation, business activities are few and far between and the graph of poverty and unemployment is rising every day. The US and Pakistan are still not able to provide any economic support to win the hearts and minds of these people.
Khawaja Umer Farooq, Jeddah

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