For half a million Pakistanis displaced by a military offensive, the prospect of fasting during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan amid severe food shortages has sharpened anger towards the government. In mid-June, the military began long-anticipated air strikes on the North Waziristan tribal district near the border with Afghanistan. The military gave residents three days to flee before a ground offensive against the Pakistani Taliban and other militant groups using the mountainous region as an operational base.
We are depressed over the role of the military who are responsible for our suffering. They have launched this operation just before the Holy Month, but these militants were living here for years. Why now?
Niaz Wali Khan, resident of Bannu
Authorities say of the 550,000 population in North Waziristan, around 460,000 are now displaced with as many as 100,000 fleeing to Afghanistan. Many of those who stayed in Pakistan are now living in tent villages a few kilometres east of the region’s border where temperatures approach 50C (122F) and riots frequently break out over the lack of food supplies.