5,000 tribesmen have fallen prey to landmines, says NGO
PESHAWAR, May 05, 2005: Dr Zafar Khan, chairman of the Community Motivation and Development Organisation (CMDO), and the Pakistan Campaign to Ban Landmines (PCBL), on May 3 asked the government to rehabilitate 5,000 victims of landmines in the tribal areas. The CMDO is a non-government organisation working for the rehabilitation of landmines victims in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA).
Speaking at a news conference, Dr Khan said his organisation was operational since 1998 in Peshawar. He said the tribal areas of Pakistan bordering with Afghanistan were infested with landmines and vast quantities of unexplored ordnance (UXO) during the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in 1979.
Though these hidden weapons had claimed thousands of fives in FATA, little attention is paid by federal and provincial governments to clear remote rugged terrains. Dr Khan claimed that his organisation had been executing a mine action project in Bajaur Agency and a multi-sector mine action project in Kurram Agency with the cooperation of the Response International (a UK-based organisation) since March 2003.
He said the CMDO had recently distributed 100 wheelchairs and other articles like walking sticks among victims of landmines and UXOs in Bajaur and Kurram agencies. He added that the organisation was planning to extend the mine action project to all affected areas of FATA, Balochistan and Kashmir. The establishment of a workshop for the provision of prosthesis to victims of landmines and UXO was being vigorously pursued.
The chairman said a total of 756 landmine victims in Bajour Agency and 705 in Kurram Agency had been identified up till now. He added that Mamoon Tehsil, Salarzai, Charmung and some areas in Khar were worst affected areas in Bajaur Agency while Therimingal, Khar Lachi, Zairham and some areas in Lower Kurram of Kurram Agency had been identified as heavily mined areas. He said a team of the organisation was visiting Waziristan to assess the casualties there and that work for the rehabilitation of mine victims would be started soon after its report.
Source: Daily Times