Pakistanis Trapped in Swat Face Catastrophe, Group

ISLAMABAD (Reuters) - Many Pakistanis trapped by an offensive against the Taliban in Swat face cataclysm and authorities should lift a curfew to enable them to get out and for help to get in, a rights group said.

The offensive in the Taliban bastion of Swat, about 120 km (80 miles) northwest of Islamabad, has flashed an migration of 2.3 million people, as per government statistics but about 200,000 people are thought to be still in the valley.

Severe shortages of food, water and medicine are generating a main humanitarian calamity for the trapped civilians, the U.S.-based group Human Rights Watch said.

"People trapped in the Swat conflict zone face a humanitarian catastrophe unless the Pakistani military immediately lifts a curfew that has been in place continuously for the last week," said Brad Adams, the group's Asia director.

"The government cannot allow the local population to remain trapped without food, clean water, and medicine as a tactic to defeat the Taliban," Adams said in a statement on Tuesday.

The army launched its most concerted effort against the Taliban after the militants, emboldened by a controversial peace deal, pushed out of the former tourist valley into neighbouring districts, including one just 100 km (60 miles) from Islamabad.

But the flight of so many civilians poses not only a major burden for an economy being kept afloat by a $7.6 billion International Monetary Fund loan, but could also undercut public backing for the offensive.

Soldiers are slowly moving from house to house battling militants in Swat's main town of Mingora, while clashes are also taking place in several other parts of the valley, the military says.

I say that

This is the worst condition moreover escaped peoples have said that the price of goods in the clash zones is ten-fold
high, while medical facility was almost impossible as hospitals had closed their doors and doctors had disappeared from the clash zone, on the one hand residents of Swat are leaving their home for the sake of Pakistan while on the other hand they are facing troubles like living in hot areas with inadequate food and water, unavailability of medical treatment and the list is large, this situation must be seriously tackle by the authorities adequately or this situation will create the same problems as Afghan Mohajrins in 1980's.

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