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Home is better than a camp any day

world Updated: Jul 22, 2009 23:51 IST
Kamal Siddiqi
Kamal Siddiqi
Hindustan Times
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For Nadia Khan, in her thirties, the journey to Mingora, the capital of Swat, will be a painful one. She was forced out of Mingora by the Taliban because she ran a sewing school for women.

Nadia’s school, funded by a local NGO, helped teach women the basics of dress making so they could become economically independent.

“My students were mostly widows or women whose husbands or brothers had run away. I would teach them so they could earn some money to feed their families,” she sobs.

Nadia said the Taliban did not come knocking at her door but simply issued instructions from a nearby mosque in central Mingora. “They said all women’s schools should be shut,” she recalls.”

Soon after, her school was attacked and she had to leave.

Her sewing machines and other equipment was broken or robbed. She says she now has to build everything from scratch.

Most of the thousands returning to Swat have similar emotions.

But there are few who can argue with government officials who have announced that after July, all official help to IDPs will stop.

Prime Minister Yousouf Raza Gilani announced this month that current circumstances were conducive for IDPs to return.

Analysts say the government is under pressure to show that the military operation in Swat was a success and that the situation has normalised. Many refugees deny this but some argue that a home is better than a camp any day.