For the last 81 stagnant days that only carries unimaginable painful stories of displaced and locked Swatians troubles and pains; July 17 was a very different late morning here in IDP’s camp at under construction medicine factory building located in Risalpur Special Industrial Zone (SIZ) of Pukhtunkhwa, Pakistan. Temperature was soaring and rising in and outside the roof, with no fan moving around due to no current in the wires -loosely hanging here and there- as usual. Some people in the camp were busy in packing their belongings specially flour and mats and utensils while few in cleaning and washing the floors of their vicinity, they were living in, cooking in, dining in and ‘other ins’ like storage, washing, reading and so on. Looking outside through the ‘no door window frame’ on the wall of the hall we were sitting in; my eyes found hardworking young Idris Khan, a social worker IDP, who was watering the plants, recently planted in the yard of the factory. Frustrated but well determined Mohammad Yahya Idris’s father, in his fifty, surrounded by his villagers, was preparing the list of those families who were ‘qualifying’ to go back to their homes. Thick bearded Bakht I Rawan(50) with a cap on left half head and screw drivers etc in hands was checking his mini mazda truck to see weather the vehicle is fit for the long and tough journey, that also include many Pool I Seraats (Cliff-hangers) on the way to reach heaven. Haji Mumtaz khan the ever smiling personality and owner of the factory was talking on mobile busy in arranging a goodbye party for about two and half months long stayed 300 guests. The watch man of factory was however doing the same job supposed to do from the first day of IDP’s arrival. He was distributing chips, gums and sweets amongst the children. My eyes were searching cute and brave Shandana, belonging to village Kokarai, residing in the camp with her family of confused mother, an early retired school teacher and a law college student elder brother. Twelfth grader Student of Govt Girls College Saidu Sharif swat, Shandana got earlier an opportunity to present to Chief Minister Pukhtunkhwa, the miseries and pains of her valley loudly and with confidence. gossiping with her camp’s friends in the shade, sweating and lurking, I wondered Shandana will be much happier going back to her heaven, but actually it was not like that we were expecting.
On the eve of going back to home, sweet home, her face reading showed a different story. ” it is your last day here in camp and tomorrow you will start a new life in your paradise, a life in peace, a life in love and affection and care, but you still seem demoralized and depressed and confused and worried, why?” I asked Shandana at once, while she was still thinking where to sit comfortably on a mat lying on the floor of a door-less hall of the factory. Amused Shandana laughing at me, replied in a tone like quarreling, arguing,” There is nothing pleasing treating our life, It is just a change in our location. We are going from tent to a jail or simply from a pavilion to play ground, where both powers are playing a bloody game for others. One gets dollars from under world the other from surface of the world. Many stakes in the World are interested to make the game more ruthless, more brutal and more deadly. They are determined to put us back in the Stone Age, to install their interests. In turn Pukhtunkhwa is likely turning to the shopping mall of terrors and any one can approach to buy and sell horrors and terrors”. She corresponded as quickly and as precisely, one can expect from a mature politician.
“What do you think about the pace of operation rah I raast that took start April this year after failure of peace agreement arrived with Sofi Muhammad -a man not belonging even to Swat- following operation rah I haq 1 11 and 111 initiated two years ago, in September 2007”. I flatly asked a more complex question to judge about ongoing war, the level of understanding of a Swat school going girl, living in mess so long.
“I think one may give any name to such operations, it makes no difference”. She was confidently speaking, “Fact is that there are two powers out from their din, with amazing claim of people’s protection, since two years. One is supposed watching our territorial and the other our religious boundaries”. Out of both forces, interestingly, one is always determined to die while the other in contrast, is lurking to live. Considering this fact for a while, there may be no doubt in the minds of people who will win this war. “It looks they both are fighting mutually but many bodies dumped at the end of the day appears to be of innocent people and security personals.
To my question “did she ever felt she will have to left her paradise and live like this today?” Shandana, too much uneasy to hear, responded. “I never thought of doing so, why a person will think to leave his sweet home to stay in tents, that equally generate heat as is sun doing. It itself is sun, not tent”. Actually we were forcefully displaced. Displaced too, is not a suitable word to be used in our case. We were evicted and thrown out”. Shandana was likely not finding more hard words to express her sentiments, but kept on saying, “It was really just like one uproot century’s old tall tree from hill top and through it out at once. Just like one is dropped from the air, atleast I have gone through this like experience”. She stopped for a while, breathing, taking a plastic glass, dip it inside the cooler, taking a sip to make her soaring throat wet, and adjourned, “It was situation like the day the dam broke, a story my father describes, saying they read in their text books.”
“This story, I think, is also included in your text book,” I interrupted to remind her. “In our text book?” which text books? I even do not remember the names of my books, I do not remember where I read, who were my friends, where are my photos that I collected as memories of the past” she burst fluently in one breath, till I tried to stop her. “Ok, sorry you were telling your sufferings of the journey”, I interrupted again to remind her. She tried to recall and said. “we were empty hands but with wearing cloths. One of our relative gold having market worth US $1100 was sold for about 200 dollars. We along with our relatives started journey without knowing our destination. The heavy loaded Trucks, buses full of suffocation, motor cycles, pedestrians running and even carts loaded with kids and ‘ailing beings’ were on the way around, running to escape from bombs and bullet games. Children and women were weeping, aching and vomiting. This was a historic journey with lots of ooooz and aaaaz from the people in and outside”. She continued saying in a manner like the dilemma, still in her memory, had just happened. An hour’s car and 4 hours foot journey through hills, we find ourselves in a village of Buner district that too was vacated of its incumbents. A woman still there, looking our conditions through a hole of her home boundary wall, opened a bit the door, with white flag in her hands, offered us water and some stuff to eat”.
“When you left your home?” Interfering during her pause for breathing, it was another question I preferred to ask. Her reply was amazing. “I do not know the date when I was displaced.” She was too angry to point out, “Why people are always asking for dates? Why people are counting weeks, months and years after years, silly questions.” She kept on saying, “For me no date brought change in the past and no date will bring change in the future, we the “un people” are in the drench and incumbents like me count, feel nor observe any change in life, so why we should talk about a thing that have no concern with us. We were in dark and we will be in dark till death. But it is all due to you.” Pointing towards me, Shandana’s finger came straightly so closer to my eyes that I had to push myself back to save my “looking guns” to be preserved for seeing the miseries and pains of the human beings imposed on (un)human beings, nations beings on the (un)nations beings and brothers beings on (un)brothers beings. It is oxymoron, a cruel kindness of powers I was still thinking when Shandana, diverted my attention, kept on saying. “Yes, you are responsible, the generation at work is responsible and they are answerable for keeping in trouble, me, my family, my relatives and my innocent people. No doubt you were supposed to hand over to us our world in much better condition than that you lived in and our responsibility was to carry it on with positive additions to the next one, but quite painfully you yourself are out to destroy it, to ruin it.” distrustful Shandana was arguing. In the meanwhile her bus was ready to depart for the heaven on the earth, but with many pool I seraats on the way to pass!
“You are going back home voluntarily and nobody forced you to leave this camp. We wish life in your sweet home will be much better than the life in the camp. “Can you sum up your discussion to give a carry home lesson to the people at work?” I asked the last question, while she was putting her first step in the bus.
“The lesson is that,” she took her intellectualistic face upward, looking to the people standing around and said, “WHY WE ARE FIGHTING BAD IDEAS THROUGH BAD IDEAS. CAN NOT WE FIND WAYS HOW TO FIGHT BAD IDEAS WITH GOOD IDEAS. IF WE CAN NOT DO THAT, REMEMBER WE ARE THE GONERS, HAVING ONE WAY OUT, THE EXIT!”
Do Obama, Osama, Mushama, Maulana and Zardari and Richard Hall broke have ears to hear the heed of our younger generations, described by Shandana?