[Senate Hearing 111-150] [From the U.S. Government Publishing Office] S. Hrg. 111-150 RESPONDING TO PAKISTAN'S IDP CRISIS ======================================================================= HEARING BEFORE THE SUBCOMMITTEE ON NEAR EASTERN AND SOUTH AND CENTRAL ASIAN AFFAIRS OF THE COMMITTEE ON FOREIGN RELATIONS UNITED STATES SENATE ONE HUNDRED ELEVENTH CONGRESS FIRST SESSION __________ JULY 29, 2009 __________ Printed for the use of the Committee on Foreign Relations Available via the World Wide Web: http://www.access.gpo.gov/congress/ senate U.S. GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE 53-273 WASHINGTON : 2009 ----------------------------------------------------------------------- For Sale by the Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Government Printing Office Internet: bookstore.gpo.gov Phone: toll free (866) 512-1800; (202) 512�091800 Fax: (202) 512�092104 Mail: Stop IDCC, Washington, DC 20402�090001 COMMITTEE ON FOREIGN RELATIONS JOHN F. KERRY, Massachusetts, Chairman CHRISTOPHER J. DODD, Connecticut RICHARD G. LUGAR, Indiana RUSSELL D. FEINGOLD, Wisconsin BOB CORKER, Tennessee BARBARA BOXER, California JOHNNY ISAKSON, Georgia ROBERT MENENDEZ, New Jersey JAMES E. RISCH, Idaho BENJAMIN L. CARDIN, Maryland JIM DeMINT, South Carolina ROBERT P. CASEY, Jr., Pennsylvania JOHN BARRASSO, Wyoming JIM WEBB, Virginia ROGER F. WICKER, Mississippi JEANNE SHAHEEN, New Hampshire JAMES M. INHOFE, OKLAHOMA EDWARD E. KAUFMAN, Delaware KIRSTEN E. GILLIBRAND, New York David McKean, Staff Director Kenneth A. Myers, Jr., Republican Staff Director ------------ SUBCOMMITTEE ON NEAR EASTERN AND SOUTH AND CENTRAL ASIAN AFFAIRS ROBERT P. CASEY, Jr., Pennsylvania, Chairman CHRISTOPHER J. DODD, Connecticut JAMES E. RISCH, Idaho RUSSELL D. FEINGOLD, Wisconsin BOB CORKER, Tennessee BARBARA BOXER, California JOHN BARRASSO, Wyoming BENJAMIN L. CARDIN, Maryland JOHNNY ISAKSON, Georgia EDWARD E. KAUFMAN, Delaware (ii) ? C O N T E N T S ---------- Page Ali, Imtiaz, Jennings Randolph Senior Fellow, United States Institute of Peace, Washington, DC............................. 39 Prepared statement........................................... 41 Brause, Jon, Deputy Assistant Administrator, Bureau for Democracy, Conflict, and Humanitarian Assistance, U.S. Agency for International Development, Washington, DC.................. 14 Prepared statement........................................... 17 Casey, Hon. Robert P., Jr., U.S. Senator from Pennsylvania, opening statement.............................................. 1 Report from Oxfam International dated July 28, 2009.......... 2 Chamberlin, Hon. Wendy, president, Middle East Institute, former Ambassador to Pakistan, Washington, DC......................... 34 Prepared statement........................................... 35 Schwartz, Hon. Eric, Assistant Secretary for Population, Refugees and Migration, Department of State, Washington, DC............. 6 Prepared statement........................................... 9 (iii) RESPONDING TO PAKISTAN'S IDP CRISIS ---------- WEDNESDAY, JULY 29, 2009 U.S. Senate, Subcommittee on Near Eastern and South and Central Asian Affairs, Committee on Foreign Relations, Washington, DC. The subcommittee met, pursuant to notice, at 10:02 a.m., in room SD-419, Dirksen Senate Office Building, Hon. Robert P. Casey, Jr. (chairman of the subcommittee) presiding. Present: Senators Casey, Feingold, Cardin, Shaheen, Kaufman, Corker, Risch, and Barrasso. OPENING STATEMENT OF HON. ROBERT P. CASEY, JR., U.S. SENATOR FROM PENNSYLVANIA Senator Casey. This hearing of the Committee on Foreign Relations, the Subcommittee on Near Eastern and South and Central Asian Affairs, will now come to order. I want to welcome everyone this morning. Thank you for being here. We're trying to get started pretty close to the hour. And thank you for taking the time to be with us. Today, our subcommittee meets to assess the scope of the internally displaced persons, or as we know them, by the acronym IDPs. This is a crisis that confronts the people of Pakistan in the aftermath of a sustained army offensive to drive Taliban extremists out of the Swat Valley and neighboring regions. In recent days, we've seen the start of small-scale returns of IDPs back to their homes, but the situation remains fragile. There are still reports of isolated fighting. And for all the success of the Pakistani military in regaining control of the area, none of the extremist leaders were arrested or killed during the military operations of the past 2 months. While precise numbers are difficult to pin down, experts assess that more than 2 million--more than 2 million--civilians have been forced from their homes after a series of Pakistani military offensives in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas, as we know as the FATA, and, more recently, the North West Frontier Province, home to the Swat Valley. The scale of this IDP crisis is underscored by the fact that it is the largest movement of civilians on the subcontinent since the bloody events of the 1947 partition. We must also recognize that this IDP crisis did not just emerge suddenly this spring after the Pakistani Army went into the Swat Valley to oust Taliban militants. Nearly half of the 450,000 residents of the Massoud territories of South Waziristan were driven from their homes by a prior military incursion in the early part of 2008. This IDP crisis has been building now for some time. Given so much suffering that takes place around the world, and given the large sums of U.S. assistance we already provide to Pakistan, it is natural to question why an IDP crisis there materially affects the interests of the United States. I would offer at least two compelling reasons. First, the humanitarian dimensions of this emerging catastrophe are, indeed, vivid. And I want to give you some examples in a couple of moments. Up to 90 percent of the displaced individuals have been welcomed into the homes of distant relatives, a byproduct of the proud tradition of hospitality that exists there. However, a small but significant number of IDPs are located in sweltering camps, where the temperature often rises to an unbearable 110 degrees. The families who are in these camps often do not have enough time to take more than their rudimentary possessions, leaving them at the mercy of government assistance. Although the camps so far have not proven to be vectors for disease epidemics, that threat remains. And I'd also offer--I'll make this part of the record, among other things we offer today as part of the record--a report from Oxfam International, dated July 28 of this year. [The article submitted for the record follows:] Pakistan: Three Months After Clashes Began, Oxfam International Emphasizes Need for Voluntary and Safe Returns of Displaced People FOCUS GROUP FINDINGS SHOW DISPLACED WOMEN FEAR RETURN TO UPPER SWAT DISTRICT Three months after the clashes in Pakistan's Northwest Frontier Province (NWFP) began, aid agency Oxfam International emphasized the right of Internally Displaced People (IDPs) to return voluntarily and the need to establish sustainable security in their home villages. Oxfam International praised the Government for agreeing to uphold international standards on the return of IDPs, but said a clear information campaign is needed to help displaced people make informed decisions about returning. Now in the third week of the Government's phased plan for returns, there are an estimated 1.5 million displaced people yet to be repatriated who need reassurance that their safety will be respected and humanitarian assistance will continue. After speaking to nearly 100 IDP women in focus group discussions held in camps and host communities over the last two weeks, Oxfam International found that despite a strong desire to return home, many still fear for the safety of their families. The displaced women living in Swabi and Mardan districts said that relatives in Swat district contacted them by mobile phones to say that homes and livelihoods have been destroyed and sporadic fighting is continuing. Others spoke of confusion on the returns process and its implications, with only limited information provided at short notice. ``We hear that we should return to Swat. But there are no options for us except to go and sit on our destroyed house,'' said Zemit, 52, after she learned that her family home was bombed last week. Oxfam Country Director in Pakistan Neva Khan said, ``After the largest internal displacement crisis in Pakistan's history, everyone wants to see a return to normalcy including a secure and dignified return for all displaced people. We are encouraged that the Government has agreed to international guidelines but stress that the information campaign is also vital to the repatriation process.'' The voluntary, safe, informed and dignified return of the IDPs is a paramount consideration for Oxfam International which, along with other members of the humanitarian community, is working with the government to help meet the needs of displaced people and particularly vulnerable women. Oxfam International is providing water, cash, cooking materials, latrines and hygiene kits for up to 360,000 men, women and children affected by fighting. Adhering to the three-phase plan of return set up by the government, buses and security vehicles have been taking families back to the NWFP since 13 July, first from displacement and spontaneous camps followed by those staying with host families. As the IDPs return to their villages, Oxfam International will shift its focus with local partners to help provide shelter in devastated areas. In particular, assisting people who have lost their crops, livestock, shops and other livelihoods. Women's Stories Between 15th and 25th July, Oxfam International staff spoke to nearly 100 IDP women in focus groups discussions in Yar Hussain camp in Swabi district and in three host communities in Mardan district. The displaced women came from Upper Swat villages including Aliadab, Khalam and Khabal. Their stories include:
ZWAHARA (70) from Upper Swat ``I fear my husband and son are dead. I have no income and five daughters so I must get them married quickly.'' When Zwahara and her five daughters were given just 30 minutes notice to vacate their village, she had to leave her paralysed son behind with his father. Taken in by a distant relative living in Swabi district, her family and 20 others of the extended family are sharing one toilet and water tap. The women are sleeping on the ground in the courtyard and desperately want to be allowed into one of the official camps for displaced families, where they believe conditions will be better. Because Zwahara has no male family member with her and no official ID card, the family have been turned away from the camps. Every member of the family suffers from diarrhoea and skin infections due to the heat and poor hygiene. Zwahara has learned from former neighbours that her house has been destroyed. No one has seen her husband or son for several weeks. The family do not plan to return to Swat. RAHMATUN (22) from Upper Swat Rahmatun's husband returned to their village several weeks ago. He told her that there is shooting in their village and the curfew makes it too dangerous for him to go out to buy food. He plans to leave their village and travel south to join her in Mardan if they can find a place to live. Rahmatun said, ``The militants will behead us if we peek our heads outside of the door--we cannot send our girl children to school or anywhere with this being the case. They warned communities that if they fled during the fighting that would mean that they had sided with the Government.'' Rahmatun and her three small children were staying in Yar Husseim displacement camp in Swabi district. SAHIB (80) from near Mingora in Swat district Eighty-year-old Sahib, her daughter and granddaughter walked for two days and two nights to escape the fighting in Swat. For the last three months they have been living in the empty home of a wealthy family in Swabi district, the relatives of a family friend in their home village. All the family suffer from diarrhoea and the skin rash scabies because of the intense heat and lack of mobility from living in purdah. Sahib said: ``I don't know what will happen to us if we go back. I want to stay here--there are too many problems in Swat.'' ZEMIT (50) from Upper Swat ``We hear that everyone should return to Swat. But there are no options for us except to go and sit on our destroyed house,'' said Zemit, 52, after she learned that her family home was destroyed by bombing last week. Living with 90 family members in a temporary home, Zemit says that she misses baking bread for her family at home and desperately wishes to return. But family members who remained in Swat tell her not to return because fresh hostilities coupled with a volatile curfew order makes it dangerous for them to get food and other necessities. A local administrator in Marden district invited Zemit and her large family to stay in his guesthouse, where they've lived for nearly three months and relied on the generosity of neighbours. Notes to Editors 1. Between 15th and 25th July, Oxfam International staff spoke to nearly 100 IDP women in focus groups discussions in Yar Hussain camp in Swabi district and in three host communities in Mardan district. The displaced women came from Upper Swat villages including Aliadab, Khalam and Khabal. 2. The Government's national response plan outlined in May sketches a positive picture in many respects, with progressive references to safe, voluntary returns, community ownership, transparency and accountability, as well as the distinct needs of women and other vulnerable groups. This requires sustained support and commitment to be turned into a detailed reality. Recovery and rehabilitation plans must involve the active participation of affected. On 27 July 2009, the Government estimated that 700,000 people had returned to NWFP. 3. The Pakistani army's operations against militants in NWFP beginning in late April triggered an exodus of over two million women, men and children especially after 2 May. The flight of civilians from the province's Malakand Division (mainly the districts of Swat, Dir, Malakand and Buner) represents the biggest conflict-induced displacement in the country's 62-year history. 4. Oxfam International is a relief agency working in 70 countries to fight poverty and end suffering. Oxfam International has funded relief and development work in Pakistan since 1973 and two affiliates, Oxfam Great Britain and Oxfam Novib, are working in the country. Senator Casey. And just a quick summary that I'll read highlights of--to give those in the audience who may not sense the size of the human situation we're dealing with. Vignettes, after interviews by Oxfam of--in a kind of focus-group approach to this crisis, but even excerpts from the Vignettes tell the story. The story of a 70-year-old woman from Upper Swat--and I'm reading, ``When she and her five daughters were given just 30 minutes' notice to vacate their village, she had to leave her paralyzed son behind with his father.'' And then it goes on to talk about her house being destroyed. Another vignette, an 80-year-old woman in a Swat district, her daughter and granddaughter walked for 2 days and 2 nights to escape the fighting in the Swat. Another vignette, from a 50-year-old living with 90 family members in a temporary home. So, it goes on and on from there, and you--those of you in the audience who have studied this understand what we're talking about. This is a humanitarian crisis. Fortunately, America is usually at her best when it comes to reacting when we have a humanitarian crisis. And I think this is one of those examples. I'll talk about what some other countries are not doing, in a moment. The second reason why this is a crisis that the American people should be concerned about is this. The response to the crisis offers the Government of Pakistan an opportunity to consolidate the gains achieved so far this year in extending its writ of authority over territories where the government previously ruled in name only. All of us commend the leadership of President Zardari and Prime Minister Gilani in sending military forces to oust Taliban leaders who have gone too far. But, the sacrifices made by the army will be for naught if large numbers of IDPs turn against the government for lack of assistance during their time of need. It's incumbent upon the Government of Pakistan to reestablish security and provide basic services in the Swat Valley and surrounding areas to facilitate an orderly and voluntary return of the displaced. It is my hope that today's subcommittee hearing can shed light on three critical challenges the United States must address together with Pakistan and the international community. First, I've been disappointed, to say the least, by the lackluster response of the international community to date, especially that of the gulf states. Less than 50 percent--less than 50 percent--of the U.N. appeal has been met with pledges from the international community. And the United States is, far and away, the largest donor. We're not talking about military forces, here; just financial assistance. It's time our allies and friends step up to the plate and help out, here. Second, I'm concerned by recent news reports that the fact that the United States is providing so much of this assistance seems not to be understood by the Pakistani people. Following the 2005 earthquake in Kashmir, the United States helped organize an overwhelming response, earning a significant public diplomacy victory for hearts and minds of the Pakistani population. It's unfortunate that a similar scenario is not playing out today. And, of course, when we talk about a public diplomacy victory, we're not just talking about something to pat ourselves on the back as Americans. That's all--that's wonderful. But, we're talking about changing hearts and minds so that we can create better security situations, both in Pakistan and, therefore, in the best interests of--the national security interests of the United States. Finally, our third worry is that the lack of official coordination and resources in the crowded IDP camps is providing an opportunity for extremist groups to fill any vacuum. Indeed, I'm concerned by the reports that banned organizations have beaten the Pakistan Government to the punch, organizing these camps to provide delivery of needed medicine and food, and using the opportunity to spread a message of extremism and hate in the camps. I look forward to hearing from our witnesses on the first panel on the accuracy of this report, if you dispute those reports, and what, if anything, is being done to counter this disturbing development. We are pleased, today, to have an excellent group of witnesses to explain the dimensions of the crisis and how the United States and the international community can work to assist the Pakistani Government in addressing this urgent crisis. Our first panel will feature the Honorable Eric Schwartz, the Assistant Secretary of State for Population, Refugees, and Migration--we welcome him here, and all of his experience and commitment--and Jon Brause, the Deputy Assistant Administrator at the U.S. Agency for International Development, which we all know as USAID, responsible for overseeing much of the United States assistance to help ameliorate the Pakistani IDP crisis. Assistant Secretary Schwartz just returned from the region yesterday and can provide us a firsthand account of the situation on the ground in the Swat Valley and to what extent the small-scale returns we have seen in recent days heralds a more significant resettlement trend. Both men can explain what the United States is doing to respond to the immediate crisis and provide for future contingencies associated with the oncoming monsoon season and a potential military incursion into South Waziristan. I will save, for now, the introduction of our witnesses for the second panel, but I am eager to hear their testimony, as well, and their perspective. With that, let me take the opportunity that we'll probably have, I guess, in a few moments, to turn to our ranking member, Senator Risch, for his opening statement. And I want to welcome Senators Shaheen and Kaufman here today, and others who will be with us today to examine this challenge that we have. Maybe, at this time--until Senator Risch arrives--we'll go to opening statements. And, Assistant Secretary Schwartz, maybe you can start. I put a number of 8 minutes on you. We'll try to hold you to that as best we can. There'll be no--as you know, there'll be no bang of the gavel, necessarily, but if you can stick to something close to 8 minutes, that would help. Thank you. STATEMENT OF HON. ERIC SCHWARTZ, ASSISTANT SECRETARY FOR POPULATION, REFUGEES AND MIGRATION, DEPARTMENT OF STATE, WASHINGTON, DC Mr. Schwartz. Your letter invited me to speak for 10 minutes, so if I come in under 10, I hope that's OK. Senator Casey. I just made a slight amendment. [Laughter.] Mr. Schwartz. Senator Casey and members of the panel, thank you for the opportunity to appear today on the humanitarian situation in Pakistan. I was in the job for less than 8 days when, with the strong endorsement of the Secretary of State and our Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan, I went on this trip. I went because this is such a critically important issue confronting the United States. I spoke to Ambassador Holbrooke this morning and told him about the hearing. He was aware of the hearing. He asked me, personally, to convey to you all his deep appreciation for the very strong support of the Senate with respect to our approach on Pakistan and Afghanistan, and for your support for the supplemental critical assistance. I traveled last week to both Pakistan and Sri Lanka to assess the humanitarian situation in each country, and to consider how the United States can best sustain and enhance our efforts to provide relief and promote the conditions for sustainable recovery. For most of my visit in Pakistan, I was with Ambassador Holbrooke. And over the course of the trip, I visited the Jalozai camp for displaced persons, east of Peshawar, where some 87,000 of the displaced are located. Our delegation also met with President Zardari and Prime Minister Gilani and other senior officials. I met separately with Lt. Gen. Nadeem Ahmed, the head of a military special support group that is playing a key role in the assistance effort. I saw other Pakistani officials involved in relief, senior representatives of the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees, the International Committee of the Red Cross, and other international organizations, as well as representatives of international and local aid providers that are partnering with the Government of Pakistan to manage this humanitarian response. I think it's very important that I first acknowledge those on the ground who have responded so generously and effectively to this huge challenge, including Pakistani families, who have hosted most of the more than 2 million internally displaced persons. It's important to realize that most of the displaced are not in camps; they're being hosted by families. On the other side are extremists who bomb mosques and markets, destroy schools, murder teachers because they allow girls in the classroom, and kill aid workers. This month, at the Kacha Gari camp for displaced persons, gunmen killed a Pakistani employee of UNHCR. His name was Zill-e-Usman. They also killed a Mr. Allauddin, a guard employed by the Office of the Commissioner for Afghan Refugees, an agency of the Pakistan Government. Mr. Usman, of UNHCR, had worked for that organization for 25 years, and left behind a wife and four children. He was one of three UNHCR employees killed in Pakistan this year, and his death and the plight of his family is emblematic of the suffering that the Taliban has visited on so many in Pakistan. Let me now turn to a background of the crisis, describe and assess the current situation, including our response, and present my view of the near-term challenges. As you know, in response to the widespread abuses and lawlessness of the Pakistani Taliban, the government launched a military campaign in late April to break the Taliban's hold on Buner and, soon after, Swat, in the North West Frontier Province. By June, displacement reached a plateau of more than 2 million people, as you said, including about half a million people who had been displaced in earlier conflict. About 15 percent were living in official camps, but the overwhelming majority, 85 percent, was living in host communities. People in both camps and host communities endured, and continue to experience, crowded conditions, lack of privacy, and often poor sanitation and shortages of safe drinking water and other supplies, but there have been no major outbreaks of disease or instances of widespread hunger among the many displaced persons living within and outside the camps. Now, the crisis has entered a new phase, in two respects: Return of the recently displaced and the new displacement from South Waziristan, in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas. On the first of those issues, as the military retook territory from militants, people began returning to their home districts in large numbers. On July 13, the authorities launched an operation to provide transport, security, and, with the assistance of humanitarian organizations, essential supplies to returnees. Although these are estimates, which are in flux and, in any event, have a margin of uncertainty, the government reports that, in all, well over 700,000 displaced persons have returned home to the agencies of the Federally Administered Tribal Areas and to the North West Frontier Province. Uncertainty about security, basic services, and prospects for restoring their incomes are deterring some people from returning home, and some individual family members are making trips home to gather information on whether to bring their families back. On July 11, Pakistani and U.N. officials agreed on a policy framework for returns, stipulating that returns should be voluntary, informed, dignified, safe, and sustainable. I have discussed with officials reports that some displaced persons may have felt undue pressures to return. This issue will remain an important part of our bilateral dialogue with the Government of Pakistan. However, it is encouraging that Pakistani authorities have continued to emphasize their commitment to this principle of voluntariness, and have made clear their willingness to take seriously and investigate concerns about the repatriation process. On the second issue: South Waziristan; sporadic fighting on the ground and air attacks have displaced about 60,000 people or more, and this number will increase with the expected offensive against the Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan group. So, what are the conclusions from this analysis? First, the humanitarian response has been inadequate. The U.N. appeal of $543 million is only 38 percent funded, and other governments must come forward to help. This was one of the largest rapid displacements of people in recent memory. And, while Pakistani authorities and partners responded effectively and returns have begun, there are still 1\1/2\ million who have not returned. I should note that the United States has very much met our responsibility, leading the way in the international response, with more than $320 million committed since May of this year. The Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration that I lead at the State Department has already provided about $60 million for this response to support key international partners, and we're prepared to do more this fiscal year. Second, the principal immediate challenge is to create conditions to support voluntary and durable returns. This includes reestablishing security, utilities, civil administration, providing food, restoring livelihoods. We're supporting international organizations that are already focusing on this return and rehabilitation issue. And Jon Brause, my colleague, will tell you more about USAID efforts in this area. I see I have 14 seconds remaining; I've got about 45 seconds more of prose. So, if you will indulge me. Third---- Senator Casey. You have---- [Laughter.] Senator Casey [continuing]. My indulgence. Mr. Schwartz. Third, relief organizations must be prepared to continue to meet the needs of those displaced persons who may not be able to return home promptly, especially as the monsoon season is beginning. Fourth, the government and the humanitarian community must prepare for displacement from South Waziristan, and possibly neighboring areas. The displacement may reach 150,000 people, or more, once full-scale military operations begin. Finally, the longer term task of rebuilding infrastructure must begin now. The World Bank and the Asian Development Bank are preparing an assessment of damages that should be available at the beginning of September, and Pakistan will need substantial support from donors to rebuild. In closing, let me note that the Taliban's atrocities have turned many Pakistani citizens against them. A public opinion poll conducted in May revealed that 81 percent of those surveyed considered the Taliban a critical threat to the vital interests of Pakistan, compared with only 34 percent in 2007. By sustaining and strengthening humanitarian assistance to its displaced population, by ensuring return, in safety and in dignity, and promoting the conditions for sustainable recovery and development, the Government of Pakistan can offer the prospect of a brighter future for millions of its citizens and further diminish support for misguided and dangerous extremism. We stand ready to continue to assist in this effort, and I welcome your questions. Thank you. [The prepared statement of Mr. Schwartz follows:] Prepared Statement of Eric P. Schwartz, Assistant Secretary of State for Population, Refugees, and Migration, Department of State, Washington, DC Mr. Chairman, distinguished members of the committee, last week, I visited Pakistan with Ambassador Richard Holbrooke to assess the humanitarian crisis and the response of the Pakistani Government and international community. I am grateful for this opportunity to share with you my perspectives on the humanitarian situation and to consider what more we and others can do to ameliorate the suffering of those displaced from their homes, as well as to create conditions for their return and the sustainable recovery of their communities. Let me first acknowledge those on the ground who have responded so generously and effectively to this huge humanitarian challenge. Most of the more than 2 million internally displaced persons found refuge in homes of thousands of Pakistani families. Humanitarian workers from Pakistan and around the world are working tirelessly under difficult, and often dangerous, conditions to save lives. They have our admiration and our gratitude. On the other side are extremists who bomb mosques and markets, destroy schools, murder teachers because they allow girls in classrooms, and kill aid workers. When extremists bombed the Pearl Continental Hotel in Peshawar in June, UNICEF Pakistan Chief of Education, Peseveranda So; U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) employee, Aleksandar Vorkapic; and three members of a U.N. Population Fund implementation team were among the 18 people killed; many other U.N. humanitarian workers were wounded, at least one seriously. This month at the Kacha Gari camp for displaced persons, gunmen killed a Pakistani employee of UNHCR, Mr. Zill-e-Usman, and Mr. Allauddin, a guard employed by the Office of the Commissioner for Afghan Refugees, an agency of the Pakistani Government. Another UNHCR staff member and another guard were wounded. Mr. Usman had worked for UNCHR for 25 years. He left behind a wife and four children. He was one of three UNHCR employees killed in Pakistan this year. Allow me now to offer background on the humanitarian crisis, describe and assess the current situation--including the U.S. and international response--and present my view of the near-term challenges. BACKGROUND In response to the widespread abuses and lawlessness of the Pakistani Taliban, the government launched a military campaign in late April to break the Taliban's hold on Buner, and soon thereafter, Swat in the North West Frontier province (NWFP). Within a few weeks, the fighting caused about 1\1/2\ million people to flee. They joined more than half a million others who had fled fighting in the summer and fall of 2008 between the military and Pakistani Taliban in Bajaur and Mohmand Agencies in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) and Lower Dir. By mid-June, more than 2 million displaced persons, or approximately 300,000 families, were living within an arc of 100 miles north and east of Peshawar. In June, the displacement reached a plateau of more than 2 million people. About 15 percent were living in official camps; 85 percent were living in host communities, with families in rental housing or public buildings. Displaced persons have used nearly 4,000 schools as shelters. People in both camps and host communities endured and continue to experience crowded conditions, lack of privacy, and often, poor sanitation and shortages of safe drinking water. Supplies of essential medicines and numbers of medical personnel, particularly female medical personnel, are insufficient. The main health problems are gastrointestinal disorders, respiratory infections, and skin diseases. Camp management, which includes the NWFP government, UNHCR, and the Pakistani Red Crescent Society among others, keeps the camps in good order. While camps tend to be better served than host communities, there have been no major outbreaks of disease or instances of widespread hunger among the many displaced persons living within or outside the camps. HUMANITARIAN RESPONSE STRUCTURE The Emergency Response Unit (ERU) of the NWFP government is responsible for overall coordination of relief activities. At the federal level, a Special Support Group (SSG), under the leadership of Lt. Gen. Nadeem Ahmed, assists the NWFP government and coordinates operationally with international organizations and NGOs. The U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) ensures coordination and information-sharing among the various service providers through the mechanism of the U.N. cluster system. This system organizes U.N. agencies, NGOs, and government agencies into thematic groups (camp coordination and management; emergency shelter and nonfood items; water, sanitation and hygiene; food security; health; protection; education; logistics; agriculture; and early recovery) to address needs in particular sectors more coherently and effectively. A representative from the appropriate government department and from a U.N. agency cochair each cluster. The World Food Programme (WFP), which leads the logistics cluster for the U.N., manages most of the 36 humanitarian hubs to deliver supplies. U.N. agencies are operating from Peshawar with a reduced presence in the aftermath of the bombing of the Pearl Continental Hotel on June 9. AFGHAN REFUGEES The current humanitarian crisis in the NWFP is not the only challenge of displacement in the region. Some 1.7 million registered Afghan refugees live in Pakistan, in addition to up to 500,000 unregistered Afghans. Most of them have lived in Pakistan for more than 20 years; many were born there. Like the displaced Pakistanis in the NWFP, they are principally ethnic Pashtuns, although they live in separate camps or communities throughout NWFP and in eastern Baluchistan. UNHCR protects and assists Afghan refugees in Pakistan in cooperation with the Pakistani Government and with NGOs funded directly by donors, including the United States. One effect of the fighting has been the temporary suspension of UNHCR's program of voluntary repatriation from Peshawar because of the security risks. While more than 275,000 Afghans were repatriated from Pakistan in 2008, the number so far this year has been only 44,000. UNHCR's Afghanistan repatriation and reintegration program is still able to receive those willing to return, but we remain concerned that recent events in Pakistan have disrupted returns at a key point in Afghanistan's own reconstruction. We look forward to seeing the resumption of the repatriation program in NWFP when security permits. NEW PHASE Pakistan's internal displacement crisis has now entered a new phase in two respects. First, as the military retakes territory from militants, people are returning to their home districts in large numbers. As is typical in cases of large and ongoing population movements, estimates have a margin of uncertainty. The government reports that, in all, well over 700,000 displaced persons have returned home to the FATA Agencies and NWFP. Also according to the government, some 100,000 people have returned to Bajaur Agency in the FATA; limited areas within the region remain unsafe and are still producing displacement. More than 300,000 people--about two-thirds of the district's population--have returned to Buner. Earlier this month, the government announced the completion of its offensive in Swat. On July 13, Pakistani authorities launched an operation to provide transport, security and, with the assistance of humanitarian organizations, essential supplies to returnees. The operation began with camp populations and then expanded to assist displaced people in host communities. Two camps in Mardan district have closed as their inhabitants returned home. At least 300,000 people have returned to the more secure, less damaged areas of Lower Swat. The vast majority of returnees have traveled in private vehicles rather than in government-provided transport. The government has stated that it plans to complete its operation of assisted returns by the third week in August. U.S. Government personnel have conducted assessments in Buner district and report light to moderate damage, although police stations and some schools have suffered severe damage. Electricity and telecommunications are largely restored, but the water supply infrastructure requires repair. Early reports indicate that damage to infrastructure in Swat is more severe than in Buner, although varied by location. USAID teams that entered Swat on July 16 observed little damage south of Mingora, but heavier destruction in the city itself, home to more than 200,000 people, particularly to buildings targeted or occupied by the Taliban. Areas north of Mingora are inaccessible and insecure. Uncertainty about security, basic services, and prospects for restoring their incomes are deterring some people from returning home. Humanitarian agencies report that some individual family members are making trips to gather information for a decision on whether to bring their families back. This is typical in such situations--we call them ``go and see visits.'' Another factor slowing returns is that many families are waiting to receive their $300 debit card from the government. As of July 25, the Pakistani Government had distributed about 220,000 debit cards to eligible families. The Pakistani Government is allocating $100 million to fund this program. The military has committed to staying in the Malakand division, which includes Swat, Buner, and Lower Dir, for 12 months to provide security. On July 11, the Provincial Relief Commissioner, on behalf of the Chief Secretary of the NWFP, and a representative of UNHCR, on behalf of the humanitarian community, signed an official statement that sets out a policy framework for returns. The core of the return policy framework is that the return of displaced persons should be voluntary, informed, dignified, safe and sustainable, which we strongly endorse. During my visit, government officials told me they are committed to act in accordance with these principles. I discussed with officials reports that some displaced persons may have felt undue pressure to return (for example, as a result of the reduction or elimination of services in some camps), and this issue will remain an important part of our bilateral dialogue. However, it is encouraging that the Pakistani authorities have made clear their willingness to take seriously and investigate concerns about the repatriation process and other issues affecting displaced persons. A second development is the increase in displacement from South Waziristan and neighboring areas of the FATA. Sporadic fighting on the ground and air attacks in South Waziristan, Kurram, Orakzai, and Bannu have displaced about 60,000 people, and this number will increase with the expected main offensive against the Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) group headed by Baitullah Mehsud. Although international humanitarian organizations are prepositioning supplies in Bhakkar in nearby Punjab, they have no direct access to Tank and D.I. Khan, the areas receiving most of the displaced people. Pakistani authorities are responsible for registering them and providing assistance. The authorities do not intend to establish camps, and we believe that the displaced have no interest in going to camps. They are staying with host families, in second homes, in rented accommodations, or in schools. ASSESSMENT Nearly 3 months into this humanitarian crisis, one can draw some conclusions about the response and the situation more broadly. First, the initial conditions presented huge challenges: A large and rapidly developing displacement in an area of heavy fighting between the Pakistani military and well-armed groups, as well as several deadly terrorist attacks beyond the area of military operations. Many of the affected areas, while rural, were densely populated. The outflow of people represented one of the heaviest displacements in recent history. Second, Pakistani authorities, assisted by humanitarian organizations, responded rapidly and effectively to the emerging crisis. The NWFP government established an Emergency Response Unit (ERU) and declared that it would devote its entire development budget for 2009 for humanitarian relief. The federal government established the Special Support Group (SSG) and appointed Lt. Gen. Nadeem Ahmad, who managed the relief effort for the 2005 earthquake, to head the operations of the group and oversee on-the-ground coordination between the government and international humanitarian organizations. At the request of the Pakistani Government, the U.N. issued an emergency appeal for $542 million some 3 weeks after the Swat offensive began. International agencies such as UNHCR, the World Food Programme (WFP), UNICEF, the World Health Organization (WHO), the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), and Pakistani and international NGOs, set up camps, activated the humanitarian cluster system, helped the Pakistani Government register displaced people, and distributed food and emergency supplies. It was helpful that several of these organizations already had a presence and emergency response capability in the area because of their participation in the relief effort for the Bajaur displacement in 2008, the earthquake in 2005, and their continuing support for Afghan refugees. Third, in spite of massive displacement in one of the poorer areas of Pakistan, the humanitarian response has been effective in preventing dire outcomes, while providing shelter, protection, and critical medical attention to hundreds of thousands of people. There has been neither widespread hunger nor outbreak of epidemic disease. This is due in great part to the hospitality and generosity of the many ordinary Pakistani citizens who took in not only relatives but often complete strangers and shared what they had. But it is also due to a rapid response by humanitarian organizations--both international and Pakistani. Fourth, despite its success, the humanitarian response lacks sufficient funding. As of July 27, the U.N. appeal of $542 million was only 38-percent funded, at $203 million. Donors have also contributed $104 million to the Government of Pakistan and to organizations outside of the U.N. appeal. To date, the U.S. Government has provided more than half of the total humanitarian assistance to Pakistan. Although we can take satisfaction in our support for the Pakistani people, other governments need to do more. Fifth, the Taliban's atrocities have turned many Pakistani citizens against them. A public opinion poll \1\ conducted in May revealed that 81 percent of those surveyed considered the Taliban a critical threat to the vital interests of Pakistan, compared with 34 percent in September 2007. Asked whom they supported in the Swat conflict, 70 percent preferred the government compared to 5 percent for the Taliban. Where fighting raged in the NWFP, nearly every day we read in the Pakistani press of villagers and tribal militias turning against Taliban militants. In May, the government convened an All-Parties Conference that resulted in a declaration supporting military action against insurgents and extremists and condemning violent extremism and challenges to the state's authority in any part of Pakistan. --------------------------------------------------------------------------- \1\ Ramsay, et al., ``Pakistani Public Opinion on the Swat Conflict, Afghanistan and the United States,'' July 1, 2009, http:// www.worldpublicopinion.org/, a project managed by the Program on International Policy Attitudes at the University of Maryland. --------------------------------------------------------------------------- Further, following press reports in May that charities with links to extremist groups, such as Falah-e-Insaniat Foundation (FIF), were engaged in some IDP camps in NWFP, we raised this issue with the Government of Pakistan, which agreed to address it. We understand that in general terms, the GOP, through its security presence, is monitoring this kind of activity in camps and other IDP settings, and that due to government pressure specifically, FIF was made to restrict its activities with IDPs in the camps. The Pakistani Government's response to the crisis, including its close work with humanitarian organizations, has been an important factor in its ability to maintain public support for a strong response to the Taliban insurgency. HUMANITARIAN ASSISTANCE FROM THE UNITED STATES In this crisis, the administration, its agencies, and Congress have acted in concert to generate the resources and deliver them effectively to the people of Pakistan. The substantial U.S. response demonstrates our solidarity with the Pakistani people and support for the Pakistani Government in these trying times. Early on, USAID deployed a DART team to assess conditions and recommend where to direct emergency assistance. By the time that the U.N. had issued its appeal in May, Secretary Clinton had developed and announced a $110 million U.S. assistance package, nearly all of which was disbursed within a few weeks. The Secretary, Ambassador Holbrooke, and our Embassies around the world urged other governments to meet the humanitarian challenge with additional resources. USAID, USDA, DOD, and my Bureau at the State Department have all mobilized to deliver vital assistance to our partners on the ground on a timely basis--shelter, protection, food, medical supplies and services, electric generators, and transport and logistics support. Following Ambassador Holbrooke's visit to Pakistan in early June, the President requested an additional $200 million in emergency assistance, and Congress passed a supplemental appropriation shortly thereafter. Those funds are now beginning to flow. I thank you for appropriating these additional funds. Congressional support has been critical to our assistance efforts. We applaud the Senate's passage by unanimous consent of the Enhanced Partnership with Pakistan Act (S. 962), which authorizes $1.5 billion per year in nonmilitary assistance for 5 years. Final passage of this legislation will be a powerful demonstration of our long-term commitment to helping the Pakistani people and reinforce our desire for a long-term partnership based on common interests. Since May, the United States has pledged more than $320 million in humanitarian assistance to Pakistan to meet the needs of conflict- affected people. Last week in Islamabad, Ambassador Holbrooke outlined how we will spend $165 million of funds available (most from the FY 2009 supplemental appropriation) to meet ongoing needs of displaced persons in camps and host communities, and also to address needs as people return to build their homes and communities. The bureau I head, Population, Refugees, and Migration (PRM), has committed nearly $60 million for humanitarian relief efforts this fiscal year, $25 million of which has already been provided to humanitarian organizations and $35 million of which Ambassador Holbrooke announced last week in Pakistan. We are currently in the process of providing these new funds to our principal partners in Pakistan--UNHCR and the ICRC. Within the U.N. system for this emergency, UNHCR has lead responsibility for protection, camp coordination and management, emergency shelter, and provision of nonfood items (which include blankets, cooking sets, mosquito nets, and jerry cans) to people in camps and host communities. Protecting vulnerable populations is a global priority for PRM. In Pakistan, UNHCR's protection function includes assisting the government to register displaced people and helping people with special needs, particularly the elderly, women, and children. UNHCR has set up child protection committees in camps to protect children from violence and abuse, and has reunited separated children with their parents. Since the Bajaur crisis in August 2008, ICRC has provided assistance in insecure areas where most other providers, including U.N. agencies, have been unable to operate. ICRC was the first humanitarian organization to enter Swat in areas where fighting was still underway. In cooperation with its national partner, the Pakistan Red Crescent Society (PRCS), ICRC provides medical assistance, food, and other emergency assistance to people in camps, host communities and, where possible, people trapped by fighting. They also administer several camps, trace missing family members, and reunite families. The Department of State is proud to support UNHCR and ICRC on behalf of the American people. LOOKING AHEAD Let me close by identifying the main challenges for the humanitarian effort over the next few months. First, the humanitarian response is underfunded; other donor governments must do more to help. While about 700,000 people have returned home, there are still approximately 1.5 million displaced people. And we should not forget that Pakistan is still generously hosting 1.7 million registered Afghan refugees. Even with substantial returns of displaced persons, current operations require additional resources, and donors should support early recovery in areas of return. The long-term reconstruction needs are greater and will require coordinated and sustained engagement from international donors. Second, the new and principal challenge is to create conditions to support voluntary and durable returns. These conditions include reestablishing security, utilities, and civil administration, providing food, and restoring livelihoods. The World Food Programme (WFP) estimates that many returnees will need food assistance for 6 to 12 months to compensate for lost crops and income. While many people will continue to rely on food and other consumable relief supplies, resources will have to shift progressively to support interventions that restore normal daily life. In this respect, UNHCR is assisting Pakistani authorities by funding transportation for voluntary returns and supplying nonfood items for returnees. It plans to provide protection and advocacy through an information and referral service for returnees. The ICRC is helping 217,000 people in 31,000 households restore their livelihoods by distributing seeds and tools for the next planting season. USAID is providing assistance for debris removal, medical and agricultural programs, repair of infrastructure, and cash-for-work programs. These efforts at early recovery are absolutely essential, and you will hear more on this from my colleague, Jon Brause. Third, relief organizations must be prepared to meet the needs of those displaced persons who may not be able to return home promptly-- especially as the monsoon season is beginning. Humanitarian organizations estimate that perhaps 30 to 50 percent of those displaced will not be able to return home before the onset of winter, and will need continuing assistance. Fourth, the government and the humanitarian community must prepare for displacement from South Waziristan and possibly neighboring areas. This displacement may reach 150,000 people or more once full-scale military operations get underway. The relief effort will require a different supply chain from that established for NWFP. Humanitarian organizations have begun to preposition supplies in Punjab, but the military has not authorized the setup of delivery points closer to the areas of displacement. We will work with the Pakistani authorities and international assistance providers to promote ease of assistance to these populations. Finally, the longer term task of rebuilding infrastructure must begin now. The World Bank and Asian Development Bank are preparing an assessment of damages that should be available at the beginning of September. Pakistan will need substantial support from donors to rebuild. Timely reconstruction is critical to ensuring our humanitarian, development, and security objectives. It is clear that the people and Government of Pakistan and their partners around the world have accomplished much. But much remains to be done. The administration is committed to sustaining and strengthening our efforts to support recovery and development in Pakistan.
Senator Casey. Thank you very much. Mr. Brause. STATEMENT OF JON BRAUSE, DEPUTY ASSISTANT ADMINISTRATOR, BUREAU FOR DEMOCRACY, CONFLICT, AND HUMANITARIAN ASSISTANCE, U.S. AGENCY FOR INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT, WASHINGTON, DC Mr. Brause. Good morning, Mr. Chairman and members of the committee. Thank you for the opportunity to update you on the internal displacement in Pakistan and on the U.S. Government's humanitarian assistance efforts. With your permission, I'd like to submit written testimony for the record and provide a brief overview of our assistance efforts in my oral statement. Senator Casey. Both of your statements will be incorporated into the record in their--in the full capacity. Mr. Brause. Thank you very much. We appreciate the continued support of Congress and the supplemental funding recently enacted for both disaster assistance and food aid. Both have permitted us to aggressively respond to the current crisis in Pakistan. Operating in support of the Government of Pakistan, the whole of the United States Government is working to ensure assistance is provided to Pakistanis in need. In particular, USAID is working in close coordination with Assistant Secretary Schwartz and his staff in responding to this complex and rapidly evolving crisis, which requires both flexible and creative solutions. Since August 2008, the United States Government has provided more than $171 million, of more than $320 million pledged, for humanitarian assistance to conflict- affected individuals in Pakistan. Dollar figures, however, do not convey the true breadth of U.S. humanitarian assistance. Mr. Chairman, as you pointed out, the United States is usually at our best when it comes to humanitarian response. With the combined resources of agencies, the U.S. Government is uniquely prepared to respond to international crises on the ground--with on-the-ground expertise and resources, and that is true today in Pakistan. Let me give you some examples. When the Government of Pakistan requested large tents, generators, and meals ready to eat, the United States Department of Defense responded by immediately airlifting air-conditioned tents, generators, and Halal meals to Islamabad. The U.S. Department of Agriculture, through its Food for Progress Program, is providing over 50,000 metric tons of U.S. wheat and 6,800 tons of vegetable oil, totaling $43.5 million in assistance to help feed the displaced and returnees through the end of the year. They shifted a program, that wasn't originally focused on the displaced, and transferred the commodities to meet the sudden onset needs that took place in May. And as you've heard from Assistant Secretary Schwartz, the Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration has already provided $24.6 million in assistance through UNHCR and ICRC, and will be provided an additional $35 million. PRM's partners are critical to the success of the humanitarian assistance operations in Pakistan. Within the U.N. coordination system in Pakistan, UNHCR has the lead responsibility of protection, camp coordination and management, emergency shelter, and the provision of relief supplies within the camps. ICRC has provided assistance in insecure areas, where most other providers, including U.N. agencies, have been unable to operate. In cooperation with its national partner, the Pakistan Red Crescent Society, ICRC provides medical assistance, food, and other emergency relief assistance to people in camps, host communities, and, where possible, people trapped by conflict. They also administer several camps, trace missing family members, and reunite families, when possible. With a unique range of expertise, assistance mechanisms, and partner organizations, USAID had provided a broad range of assistance, primarily from three offices: The Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance, the Office of Food for Peace, and the Office of Transition Initiatives. To date, these offices have provided approximately $122 million in assistance. OTI's programs support the Government of Pakistan's efforts to strengthen civil society and improve basic services, helping the government build stronger relationships with communities. As the crisis escalated in May, USAID, with the endorsement of Ambassador Holbrooke, deployed a Disaster Assistance Response Team to Pakistan. The team was composed of USAID personnel with over 15 years of Pakistan and regional disaster response experience in food aid, shelter, and displacement. The DART was charged with managing U.S. Government assistance and coordinating our efforts with those of the Pakistani Government and the international community. Our disaster response expertise is embodied in staff like Bill Berger, OFDA's principal regional adviser for South Asia, who has just arrived from Islamabad and is here with us today. Bill was our DART team leader in the aftermath of the 2005 Pakistan earthquake, and he has been highly involved in our response to the current crisis. As in 2005, USAID continues to work closely with General Nadeen, who is the head of Pakistan's Special Support Group and someone who Bill Berger has a very close relationship. Upon arrival, the DART found the typical U.N.-led coordination mechanisms were not operational. The DART stepped in to fill the void--calling coordination meetings, discussing priorities with the Government of Pakistan, and working to ensure needs were being met. To emphasize the need for U.N.-led efforts, USAID provided funding for coordination and held discussions with the U.N. Under Secretary General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, John Holmes. Shortly after our discussions, the United Nations appointed Mr. Martin Mogwanja as the U.N. humanitarian coordinator for Pakistan, and he is now managing the international coordination efforts for the United Nations. With the strong support of Anne Patterson--Ambassador Anne Patterson--and the USAID mission director, Bob Wilson, the DART spent its first days on the ground assessing the humanitarian situation and partner capacities. Building on an existing OFDA program to detect signs of an epidemic at an early stage in order to prevent disease outbreaks, the DART increased support to the World Health Organization's Disease and Early Warning System. On July 3, U.N. officials reported that the system has identified and controlled more than 30 potential communicable disease outbreaks. When food availability was identified as a continuing issue, the DART food officer quickly called forward 4,000 metric tons of Title II food aid by diverting shipments already on the water and transferring commodities from prepositioned stocks in Djibouti. Through the World Food Programme, this food was distributed to IDP camps and hubs within the week of arrival at port. In addition, the Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance provided funds from the local and regional--pardon me--for the local and regional procurement of food aid, which is a critically needed complement to our traditional food aid. With our funding, WFP was able to locally purchase and distribute over 55,000 metric tons of wheat and 3,300 metric tons of beans. This quickly addressed acute food needs, and it had the added benefit of stimulating the local economy, keeping farmers employed. Field assessments, when possible, help identify any gaps in assistance and ensure USAID programs are meeting emerging humanitarian needs. Though fluid security conditions forced the cancellation of many scheduled trips, the DART was able to make over 17 assessment trips to conflict-affected areas. After 2 months on the ground, and despite enormous security constraints, the DART had successfully provided assistance through 6 U.N. agencies and 12 nongovernmental organizations, including Mercy Corps, International Medical Corps, and Save The Children. As displaced families return home, pressures on the camps and host families are likely to diminish. According to Pakistan Government officials, up to 700,000 displaced individuals have returned to their homes in recent weeks. As we look ahead, we must be mindful of the security situation for returnees and the possible uptick in displacements from Waziristan. The security situation is the No. 1 challenge to humanitarian operations. We continuously consult with our partners, and we remain willing to support additional security training, increased operational security analysis, and efforts to improve humanitarian security coordination. We are helping the Government of Pakistan establish a presence in conflict- affected areas and restore essential services, and we are working to identify and repair roads, educational institutions, and hospitals damaged during the conflict. Many of the displaced lost their harvest and may not be able to plant for the coming year, so the Office of Food for Peace is providing an additional $20 million of U.S. food aid in August to support returnees, as well as those who remain displaced. The Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance will also continue to support the provision of farming tools and seeds, as well as hygiene kits and household toolkits. By creating jobs, rebuilding infrastructure, and providing other necessary assistance, USAID programs will help foster sustainable returns. To ensure the ability of our--to respond rapidly to changing circumstances, USAID has supported prepositioned relief supplies, including food, household toolkits, emergency kitchen sets, water containers, et cetera. USAID has also provided support for WFP logistics hub and warehouse in Punjab province to ensure that our partners are ready to respond to potential displacement from Waziristan. Our previous experience in Pakistan, and the strong relationships we have built, enhance our ability to provide assistance in support of the Pakistan Government. We are making a positive impact in Pakistan, and our programs are an effective and visible demonstration of the goodwill of the American people. Thank you, and I'll be happy to answer any questions you might have. [The prepared statement of Mr. Brause follows:] Prepared Statement of Jon C. Brause, Deputy Assistant Administrator for Democracy, Conflict and Humanitarian Assistance, United States Agency for International Development, Washington, DC Good morning, Mr. Chairman and members of the committee. Thank you for the opportunity to update you on Pakistan's internally displaced persons and the humanitarian assistance efforts of the United States. Operating in support of the Government of Pakistan, the whole of the United States Government--from the State Department and Department of Defense, to USAID and the Department of Agriculture--is working to ensure assistance is provided to Pakistanis in need. Assistant Secretary Schwartz and his staff are dedicated to providing assistance to refugees, conflict victims, and stateless people worldwide. Throughout the recent crisis in Pakistan, USAID has worked in close coordination with Assistant Secretary Schwartz's bureau to ensure the needs of the displaced are being met in a complex and rapidly evolving environment. We appreciate the continued support of the Congress and the supplemental funding recently enacted for both humanitarian assistance and Public Law 480 Title II food aid, which has permitted us to aggressively respond to this crisis. USAID is the lead agency within the U.S. Government for providing assistance to, and promoting the protection of, internally displaced persons (IDPs) internationally. With its strong operational presence in the field and decades of experience responding to a broad range of complex emergencies, natural disasters, and post-conflict situations throughout the world, USAID is at the forefront of the humanitarian community's effort to place greater emphasis on protection during the immediate humanitarian response to population displacement, as well as during the longer term transition toward development and stability. Since USAID adopted an agencywide policy for internally displaced persons in October 2004, we have worked with other U.S. Government agencies, nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), the international community, and the United Nations to implement and strengthen protection activities and mobilize funding for vulnerable populations. A broad, integrated approach is required to reduce the human costs of population displacement and to foster sustainable long-term development. The provision of coherent, comprehensive assistance and a durable solution to internal displacement is a USAID priority. HUMANITARIAN ASSISTANCE IN A CHALLENGING ENVIRONMENT The U.S. Government has pledged more than $320 million in humanitarian assistance to conflict-affected individuals in the North West Frontier province (NWFP) and Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA). Of that amount, the United States has already provided more than $171 million in humanitarian assistance, $122 million of which was programmed by USAID's Bureau for Democracy, Conflict, and Humanitarian Assistance. The USAID response began in August 2008, when monsoons and military operations resulted in the displacement of more than 420,000 people. USAID supported the Government of Pakistan efforts to assist not only those who were displaced, but also the conflict-affected communities. Our assistance included water, sanitation, and hygiene programs, basic health care, and short-term employment activities. In early 2009, the number of people displaced by conflict continued to increase, and food was identified as the most urgent need. In response, USAID provided nearly $30 million in food assistance, $21 million from USAID's Office of Food for Peace (FFP) and nearly $9 million from USAID's Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance (OFDA) for the local and regional purchase of food aid. The food aid purchased locally, which is a critically needed complement to our traditional food aid, quickly addressed the acute food needs of those displaced while having an added benefit of stimulating the local economy. USAID also increased assistance for other identified needs, including basic health care, shelter, and emergency relief commodities. As the crisis rapidly escalated in May, USAID and other U.S. Government agencies responded swiftly. With the endorsement of Ambassador Holbrooke, and at the request of Ambassador Patterson, OFDA deployed a Disaster Assistance Response Team (DART) to Pakistan. On May 18, Secretary Gates approved $10 million in Overseas Humanitarian, Disaster and Civic funding to assist relief efforts. On May 20-21, three U.S. Air Force C-17 sorties delivered 50 tents and 120,000 Halal meals to Pakistan. This was followed shortly thereafter with DOD's delivery of locally purchased air conditioners, generators, water trucks, and other items, such as sandbags and shovels, for follow-on distribution to assist Pakistani IDPs. The DART team--composed of USAID experts with over 15 years of Pakistan and regional disaster response experience in food aid, shelter, and displacement--was charged with managing U.S. Government assistance and coordinating efforts with the Government of Pakistan and the international humanitarian community. Upon arrival, the DART found that there were no field assessments, which provide the data needed to make informed funding decisions. Security conditions prevented travel to conduct assessments in the affected areas. The typical coordination mechanisms were not operational, and other donors were providing only promises of assistance. The team knew from experience working in Pakistan on the 2005 earthquake response that the displaced would shelter with host families. And the DART's experience proved true. The majority of internally displaced persons--more than 87 percent--had moved to host communities, while the remainder resided in 32 organized camps, more than 4,000 schools, and numerous spontaneous camps or transit locations. The DART moved immediately and decisively to provide rapid, robust, and creative assistance programs. With the strong support of Ambassador Anne Patterson and USAID Mission Director Bob Wilson, the DART spent its first days on the ground assessing the humanitarian situation and partner capacities. Due to significant security constraints, the team devised creative ways to gather the necessary information, gleaning facts from regular consultations with humanitarian partners and government officials, supplemented by--and ground-truthed with--limited field assessment. Because coordination is critical, the DART assumed responsibility for partner coordination efforts in support of the Government of Pakistan. Combined with USAID's funding to strengthen the humanitarian coordination system, these efforts helped fill the initial coordination gap in Pakistan. Once the DART identified needs and reviewed proposals from partners, they were able to fund programs within 3 to 5 days. After 2 months on the ground and despite enormous security constraints, the DART successfully programmed more than $116 million in assistance through 12 nongovernmental organizations and 6 U.N. agencies. As the IDP crisis unfolded, the DART--working in collaboration with the Embassy and Mission--ensured our emergency assistance increased to keep pace with the needs. When displacement increased from 290,000 people in February to nearly 550,000 in March, USAID humanitarian assistance doubled--from $9.4 million to nearly $20 million. After Pakistani Taliban advances and the Government of Pakistan's military response nearly quadrupled the number of displaced individuals in May 2009, USAID again responded by quadrupling humanitarian assistance to more than $90 million. This does not include the assistance that Assistant Secretary Schwartz has described from State's PRM Bureau, which is also supporting the IDP populations. USAID humanitarian assistance is driven by needs identified in the field. When the security situation allowed, we pushed to make regular visits to the affected areas to assess the situation. Our assessments and those of our partners provided us with necessary information to modify or target our assistance based on changing needs. The DART provided assistance to address the needs in displaced persons camps, but we focused our resources to support the displaced residing in host communities and to the host communities themselves. Our assistance included water, sanitation, and basic health care programs. We also provided relief supplies such as hygiene kits and shelter materials to the displaced and their hosts. We also provided rent subsidies to reduce host family burdens and ensure that the displaced did not place an untenable strain on host families. In Mardan district, host families, communities, religious organizations, and local charities were providing assistance to displaced individuals. USAID targeted its assistance to meet the needs of the displaced and host families through the provision of $45 vouchers to households. The vouchers were distributed to more than 90,000 displaced Pakistanis residing in host communities and schools and to 5,000 host families struggling to provide not only for themselves but also for those displaced. The vouchers enabled Pakistanis to purchase exactly what they needed at local markets. Something as simple as a voucher program can provide a much-needed sense of self-reliance, and it helps stimulate the local economy, which is critical to longer term recovery. In already overstressed host communities, houses meant for 10 people were inhabited by 30 and sometimes more. So USAID provided assistance that included training and supplies for the construction of bamboo shelters, which families can easily disassemble and carry with them when they return to their homes. When displaced Pakistanis identified food as a continuing need, USAID was able to quickly provide an additional $26.6 million for the local purchase of food aid. The food, which consisted of wheat and beans, was purchased in Pakistan--again bolstering the local economy. During a recent DART assessment mission to Buner, the team noted that there were few income-earning opportunities in the area, thus those who returned would not be able to make a living. To help provide jobs and boost the local economy, USAID is reprogramming funds and allocating additional resources for further cash for work programs for returnees. Providing humanitarian assistance quickly and creatively is not sufficient. Our assistance mechanisms must also remain flexible to adequately respond as the crisis evolves or subsides. By providing the majority of our assistance through grants to partner organizations, we maintain the flexibility needed to respond to rapidly changing situations by reprogramming or retargeting our funding as needs are identified. To ensure our ability to respond rapidly to changing circumstances, USAID has supported prepositioned relief supplies--including food, household tool kits, emergency kitchen sets, water containers, and blankets--for distribution should the situation change and currently unknown humanitarian needs develop. This includes USAID support for a World Food Programme logistics hub and warehouse in Punjab province to ensure that our partners are ready to respond to potential displacement from Waziristan. USAID also realizes that unknown needs will continue to be a challenge in Pakistan. To prepare for possible future needs, USAID has established an umbrella grant that allows for subgrants to local NGOs, international NGOs, or U.N. agencies. This mechanism is designed to provide rapid response funds for possible humanitarian needs anywhere in the country. There are significant operational challenges to providing assistance in Pakistan, but USAID continues to address the challenges head on, allowing us to provide timely and appropriate assistance to Pakistanis in need. Operating in support of the Government of Pakistan's efforts, USAID's singular ability to quickly respond to the Pakistan IDP crisis with fast, flexible, and creative programming prevented further destabilization in NWFP and FATA. Before discussing our returns and early recovery programs, I want to point out that the security situation is the No. 1 challenge to humanitarian operations in Pakistan. The fluid security situation in NWFP and FATA means limited, and at times no, humanitarian access to the conflict-affected communities. The risks are high, with recent kidnappings and killings of humanitarian staff. Just this month, gunmen killed a United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees staff member and his guard, while wounding another staff member. Sadly, other aid workers have also been killed or wounded while working to meet humanitarian needs. NGOs are reluctant to hire personal security details or use armored vehicles for fear of negatively impacting programs and becoming larger targets. U.N. agencies are using armored vehicles, but even these do not adequately mitigate all risks. Our NGO partners report that their ability to travel in the affected areas has become significantly more difficult since April. Security incidents have targeted both local and international aid workers, and the female Pakistani staff are particularly concerned for their safety. Since the June 9 bombing of the Pearl Continental Hotel in Peshawar, increased responsibility has been placed on host country nationals to carry out operations in areas considered unsafe for international staff. The security challenges faced by our implementing partners in Pakistan are real, and we continuously consult with them to learn what additional options might be available to mitigate their risks. USAID remains willing to support additional security training, increased operational security analysis, and efforts to improve humanitarian security coordination. USAID also continues to work with the donor community to ensure security precautions are adequately resourced. SUPPORTING RETURNS AND EARLY RECOVERY As displaced families return home, the pressures on the camps and the host communities are likely to diminish. USAID is committed to ensuring sustainable returns and successful recovery. USAID continues to assist the displaced while simultaneously refocusing programs to meet changing needs. According to Pakistan Government officials, up to 700,000 displaced individuals, representing approximately 30 percent of the government- verified displaced population, have returned to areas of origin in recent weeks, including areas in Buner, Swat, and Lower Dir districts in NWFP and Bajaur Agency in FATA. The majority of unassisted returns are families previously living with host communities in Mardan and Swabi districts. The number of spontaneous returns to Swat remains unknown; however, the Buner District Coordination Officer reported to our DART team leader that up to 320,000 people, approximately 65 percent of Buner's displaced population, have returned to date. An additional 59,000 families returned during the July 13-22 Government of Pakistan-assisted returns process. As a result of these large-scale returns, the government closed two camps in Mardan, and announced plans to close two more. On July 21, OFDA's Principal Regional Advisor for South Asia flew over these camps and described them as ``desolate.'' The DART was the first donor to assess the situation in Buner and Swat, seeing the rapid spontaneous returns firsthand. After the assessment, the DART quickly reprogrammed funds to assure that U.S. assistance would follow those who were returning home. Knowing the importance of assisting returnees and preventing a secondary wave of displacement, USAID will support quick-impact projects for the reconstruction of damaged infrastructure in areas of return. An important aspect of our early recovery strategy is to support projects designed and driven by the communities in which they will be implemented, helping provide returnees a sense of ownership and self-sufficiency. USAID is working with communities to rebuild critical infrastructure that also provides short-term employment opportunities for affected populations. USAID funding is helping rehabilitate electrical systems, wells, and irrigation channels that are necessary before families are able to return to their homes. Additionally, USAID's Office of Transition Initiatives is supporting the Government of Pakistan's efforts to reestablish a presence in conflict-affected areas and restore essential services. We are helping rebuild public buildings and return civil servants to conflict-affected areas. And we are working with the Government of Pakistan to identify and repair the roads, educational institutions, and hospitals damaged during the conflict. By creating jobs and rebuilding infrastructure, USAID programs will help foster sustainable returns. Due to the local economies' dependence on agriculture, USAID will also support the provision of farming tools and grain and vegetable seeds, as well hygiene kits and tool kits to be used for small home repairs. The Pakistan Government estimates that the private sector comprised over 60 percent of the health sector in Buner alone and that the private sector will be slow to return. In an effort to provide necessary health care while services remain damaged and without staff, USAID will support mobile clinics, basic medicines, and staff-- particularly female doctors and nurses--to provide assistance in areas of return. Through the World Food Programme's new food distribution hub in Buner district, food aid provided by the United States will continue to support monthly family food rations for returnees until agriculture and livelihood activities in affected areas resume. USAID's Food for Peace Office will contribute an additional $20 million of food aid in August, which will mean the consistent flow of U.S. food shipments into Pakistan through February 2010. Additionally, the U.S. Department of Agriculture has pledged a total of $43.5 million in food assistance, which will be added to the WFP food aid pipeline until the year's end. In total, the U.S. Government has pledged $135.5 million in food aid in response to the crisis. Our significant and timely food contributions will ensure sufficient food support to the large numbers of displaced who are now returning home and starting to rebuild their lives and livelihoods. Humanitarian agencies are formulating strategies and refocusing assistance to support early recovery and returns. The key challenges include security, accurate and timely information dissemination to displaced populations, and ensuring that the returns process is voluntary and sustainable. To help ensure that accurate and timely returns information is widely disseminated, USAID is working with the United Nations protection cluster to develop rights- and return-based messages and key information for release to affected populations. These messages, which provide information on relief assistance and returns, will be coordinated with the relevant Pakistan Government departments including the NWFP Government's Emergency Response Unit. Coordination between USAID disaster experts and the USAID Mission on reconstruction, health, livelihoods, agriculture, and education will facilitate the transition of short-term activities to longer term development programming. USAID Mission staff are also actively engaged in initiating and expanding immediate and medium-term activities. This emergency assistance is in addition to the more than $4.4 billion the United States has provided to Pakistan since 2002 to improve economic growth, education, health, and governance and to assist with earthquake reconstruction. CONCLUSION Working in support of Government of Pakistan efforts, USAID-- alongside our U.S. Government partners--provided a rapid response to a complicated, challenging, and swiftly evolving crisis. Now that the situation has transitioned from displacement to returns and early recovery, Pakistan will soon begin to focus on near- and long-term reconstruction efforts. As the United States shifts to longer term programs, USAID has transitioned the DART to an OFDA field office. Like the DART, the field office will continue to identify and respond to priority humanitarian needs, work to enhance coordination and cohesion throughout the humanitarian community, and evaluate response effectiveness. The field office will remain engaged and prepared to meet emerging humanitarian needs in Pakistan, while working closely with the Embassy and USAID Mission during the transition from relief to development. Senator Casey. Thank you very much, Mr. Brause. I wanted to--for the benefit of our colleagues, we'll limit the question round to--first question round to 5 minutes, so-- if people have to go. But, I do want to welcome, as well, Senator Cardin, Senator Corker, and Senator Barrasso, who joined with us, along with Senators Shaheen and Kaufman, that we welcomed earlier. One thing that I wanted to make clear for the record, just so I'm understanding it correctly, is the number we have asserted I want to make sure this number is, again, on the record. The U.S. Government has pledged more than $320 million in humanitarian assistance. I want to compare that to this chart, which has a total of U.S. Government funding at $171 million. I guess that is the money spent to date. We talk about numbers, and that's important. It's important that the American people know what they're doing to help, here. We also talk about the violence, I guess, from a distant perspective. But, I was struck by the front page of yesterday's Wall Street Journal, a really stunning picture of what we're talking about here and you won't be able to see it in the audience, but I'll just read the caption and then the headline over the picture. The headline over the picture says, ``Returning Refugees in Pakistan Conflict''--or, ``in Pakistan Confront Renewed Taliban Violence.'' The caption reads as follows, ``Three girls at a checkpoint Sunday are part of the flood of refugees returning to Pakistan's Swat Valley after the military declared it secure, but Taliban militants are again infiltrating the region, kidnaping and beheading perceived enemies, and ambushing soldiers,'' a graphic summary of the violence and the threat and the stunning implications of what's happening over there. But, fortunately, the picture tells another story. These three young girls, three beautiful girls, two of them, you can see them--one is obscured a little bit, but two of them smiling, in the midst of all that violence and all that trauma. So, if those children, those young women, can smile in the midst of all that violence and displacement and horror, really, we've got to stay focused on this problem. And for those out there who say, ``Well, this is something distant and halfway across the world,'' they ought to take a look at that picture and also understand the grave reality of what a crisis like this does in its threat to our own national security. So, I was struck by that picture, I guess, because I'm the father of four daughters. Maybe that hit me in a particular way. But, I wanted to talk, first of all, about a troubling development here, about what I would argue--and I--if I'm wrong about this, I'd ask either of our witnesses to correct me if I'm wrong, but--what I perceive, and I think what a lot of people perceive, is a deliberate attempt to obscure the United States role here by some officials in Pakistan. American officials are not permitted inside IDP camps. And some of this was outlined in a recent New York Times story. They're not permitted in those camps to help supervise the distribution of U.S. aid. American military planes are not allowed to deliver the assistance, and U.S.-supplied products are not identified as such, as coming from the people of the United States. First, and I'll start with you, Assistant Secretary Schwartz--can you explain the Government of Pakistan's policies in obscuring the United States role? And second, Are they asserting, in that obscuring of our role, any legitimate security reasons for these kind of restrictions? If I can get your perspective on that. Mr. Schwartz. First, I'm a pretty senior American official, and I was in the Jalozai camp, with 80,000-87,000 displaced persons, several days ago with pretty extensive media attention. So, that would be my first point. My second point is that this is, as it should be, a subject of careful dialogue and discussion between the Government of the United States and the Government of Pakistan. So, for example, our food deliveries do indicate that that assistance is from the people of the United States. As a general matter-- and Jon can speak in greater detail about this--USAID implementing partners are expected to indicate that assistance is provided by the people of the United States of America. But, in very many instances, to do so could put assistance providers at grave risk. In those circumstances, discretion is the appropriate policy course. I think that we absolutely have public diplomacy objectives in Pakistan, and I think the Pakistani Government appreciates those objectives. And I think the government also shares those objectives. But, in the actual implementation, we have to be careful, because lives are at stake. It's a complicated issue, but I think we're handling it responsibly. Senator Casey. Mr. Brause. Mr. Brause. As the Assistant Secretary said, all of the food assistance, whether it's in-kind commodities provided from the United States or the local and regionally procured commodities, they're all marked very clearly as gifts from the people of the United States, as are most of the resources that are provided by the Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance. There are cases where our partners can come to us and ask-- as, again, the Assistant Secretary has said--for security reasons, not to mark U.S. commodities. But, as a general rule, the predominance of U.S. assistance is marked. There are also cases, though, where we recognize that we want to put the Government of Pakistan's face on certain activities, because it's very important that they demonstrate their presence and their capacity to provide services to the people. And so, there are some activities that we support, where we're not advertising the role of the United States, we want the Government of Pakistan to be seen as an effective government. So, there is a balance, depending on the activity that we're undertaking. But, on the humanitarian side, in particular, the vast majority of the U.S. assistance is clearly marked. Senator Casey. Thank you for addressing that, both of you. I'm actually over. Violating my own rules, here. Senator Corker. Senator Corker. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. And thank both of you for your service. I know the chairman alluded to a story read in the Wall Street Journal. I think most of us probably read that, and have had other stories--there have been other stories regarding the violence that is taking place as these people return home from the camps. And, at the end of the day, I know you want to see that happen as quickly as possible. What kind of--what ability does the Pakistani Government have to actually provide security for folks that are returning? I know the chairman mentioned one side of it, but, as they are returning home, does the government actually have the ability to provide security for these folks over the long haul? Mr. Schwartz. First of all, thank you for your question, Senator Corker; it is a very important one. There is a security presence of the government in areas of return, and government officials and the military are providing security in particular areas. Ultimately, the objective is to create conditions in areas of return in which there is enough diminished violence that people feel comfortable going back, and that the risk is diminished. In some parts of the territory, there is a much greater level of security; and in others, less so. In more populated areas, Swat and Buner in particular, we see larger numbers of people going back, because the areas are less threatened by the Taliban. In areas in the north of Swat and less populated areas, conditions are more difficult, which is why the return must be voluntary, and which is why, for the time being, the Pakistani military authorities need to be present in areas of return. Senator Corker. And, at present, are they building trust among the folks that are returning? Obviously, the thing that turns these camps into permanent locations for folks is the-- people going back, and the security not being there. So far, the folks that are returning to the areas that are more populated, that is building trust, within the camps, for more folks to come back to their normal locations, or not? Mr. Schwartz. That is the policy objective. This is a process that has started over the past couple or few weeks, and I think the proof will be, as they say, in the pudding. As people go back, and as people are able to resume their normal existence, more and more people in the camps will have greater and greater levels of confidence about going back as well. So, it is a key policy priority for the Government of Pakistan right now to both create the conditions for safe returns, and in those areas, provide a measure of protection. The initial reports are that people who are going back to very populated areas are beginning to resume their lives. But, I think this is going to be an effort that we, and the Government of Pakistan and the Pakistani military, are just going to have to sustain, and it is very much a work in progress. Senator Corker. And it's probably actually, sort of, the key issue, really, isn't it, as far as the long haul goes? On another front, I guess, as people go back to their homes, my understanding is, two-thirds of the crops were actually destroyed during this period of time. So, what is happening there? I mean, as people go back to their homes, that--you know, agriculture was a big part of the economic activity--two-thirds of the crops, obviously, were destroyed, or at least that's what I understand. What are we doing to actually--after they get home, if there is security, what are we doing to ensure that they actually have the ability to have a livelihood? Mr. Schwartz. I'm going to invite my colleague to answer some of that question, because some of it involves the work of USAID. I think your questions really go to the package of assistance for people who are going back under conditions of uncertainty; even under the best circumstances, these are conditions of uncertainty. In the first instance, the Government of Pakistan provides transport for returnees; and in the second, the Government of Pakistan has pledged to provide a military presence until a police presence can be established. The UNHCR provides nonfood items, focused in areas of return. And local and provincial authorities in the North West Frontier Province are involved in the effort of reestablishing services, including the kind of agricultural activity to which you allude. But, my colleague Jon may have more on that. Mr. Brause. Senator, for returnees, there's always a hierarchy of issues that they look at before they decide whether or not to return. And it's the same in Pakistan. So, the first one is obviously security. If the areas aren't secure--and the displaced tend to have their own networks of information, they'll find out if the area is secure--if it's secure, they'll begin to go back. But, the second issue they look at is livelihoods. And in the case of the farmers, we have to help them bridge that gap, since they lost this harvest, and then give them the resources to plant and tend the fields appropriately for the next harvest. So, the World--we have provided resources to the World Food Programme. Again, I think 90 percent of the resources provided for food to date are from the United States. And the World Food Programme is prepared to provide food packages to returnees for up to a year, if necessary, to ensure that they get back and are able to tend their fields and support their families while they're preparing for the next harvest. At the same time, as I mentioned in my statement, the Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance is preparing return kits through its partners that would include seeds and tools and other materials that they might need to reestablish their livelihoods. So, it's a major focus of the international community to make sure that livelihoods can be reestablished, and that will draw the people back. Senator Corker. Mr. Chairman, I thank you for the time. The work that you all are doing is very, very important, and I appreciate the way you're carrying it out. I just was in Darfur and saw a camp that's been there for a long time. And the security issue and the ability for people, because of that, to actually make a living back in their homeland is--those are permanent. I mean, they--I hope, not permanent forever, but right now they're permanent structures being built. I was just in Gaza with the United Nations, and there are camps there that have been there 50 years. So, while the work that you are doing is important, from a humanitarian standpoint, I hope that we will have a robust effort to do everything we can to cause these camps to dissipate and go away and not become permanent by making sure that, as people come home, they are secure and they have the ability to make a living doing what they've been doing in the past. But, again, thank you very much. Mr. Chairman, thank you for the time. Senator Casey. Thank you, Senator Corker. Senator Feingold. Senator Feingold. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman. Secretary Schwartz, I'm concerned that the Pakistani military continues to remain at the forefront of the recovery efforts for internally displaced Pakistanis. And on your recent trip, you said that coordination between civilian and military agencies was effective. But, you know, I've also heard reports that, in fact, poor coordination has hindered effective recovery efforts. It troubles me that, although we have seen some support among the local population for the recent military operation, that civilian capacity is actually still pretty lacking. Can you tell me whether Pakistan's civilian agencies are participating in long-term planning for recovery? And what is the likelihood that the return and recovery efforts will be managed by--actually by civilian agencies down the line? Mr. Schwartz. Let me answer your question and address a related issue. First, I think the short answer is that as we move from the emergency phase to the recovery and development phase, we will see the increased predominance of civilian agencies of government in those kinds of activities. For example, discussions about reconstruction are mostly within the civilian agencies. Right now, I would say it is a joint effort between civilian and military authorities. There is a special support group, which is very ably run by Lt. Gen. Nadeem Ahmed. He works very closely with an emergency unit of the North West Frontier Province. The Pakistani Government cochairs the international ``clusters'' in sectoral areas, focusing on the relief effort with U.N. agencies. There is also a Pakistani Government Returns Task Force. This overall structure is very much military and civilian, and the military is playing a large role. I do believe that, over time, as we move from the emergency phase to recovery and reconstruction, you'll see a much greater engagement of civilian authorities. I also want to raise the issue of coordination; in particular, coordination of international donors and assistance providers. Right now, I would say it's adequate, but the challenges in this regard, especially as we get into a multibillion-dollar reconstruction effort, will be formidable. I think that the Pakistani Government deserves to know who it's dealing with in the decisionmaking process. We have been talking to the Pakistani Government and international organizations about coordinating more effectively the humanitarian, recovery, relief and development efforts from the international community. Senator Feingold. Thank you. And recognizing that it's very difficult to obtain precise numbers of those Pakistanis who are returning, because many of them have been living in the host community and not in camps, it would seem that if the United Nations is reporting that some 400,000 people are returning home, there are still over 1 million who remain displaced and will be in need of continuing assistance. So, what plans are underway to ensure this portion of the population, as well as those in the host community that are providing support, are adequately taken care of and have access to critical amenities? And how can the United States work with the Pakistani Government, at the federal and local level, to ensure that they actually receive sufficient support? Mr. Schwartz. First of all, the latest numbers are actually even larger than the 400,000 you identified. The latest numbers we saw were 700,000 returnees. But, I think your point is absolutely right; we will still see hundreds of thousands of displaced persons who won't be able to go home over the next many weeks or months, even if we have continued large-scale returns. Right now, as I mentioned, the donor community has only funded the humanitarian appeal at about 40 percent. That is inadequate. What we need to do first is continue to go to other governments and press them as hard as possible to support the relief effort. Second, we need to be prepared to do more in the months to come, not only in this fiscal year, but in the next fiscal year. I think this is where we are going to need to turn to the Congress for support. Senator Feingold. Thank you so much. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Senator Casey. Thank you, Senator Feingold. Senator Cardin. Senator Cardin. Well, Mr. Chairman, first of all, thank you for holding this hearing. The internally displaced persons in Pakistan represent a real challenge for the stability of the Pakistani Government, and it is of great interest to the United States. So, I thank you both for your work in this area. I think it's extremely important. And I certainly support our bilateral effort with Pakistan to enhance Pakistan's capacity. I'm a cosponsor of the Enhanced Partnership with Pakistan Act, which would provide additional resources. But, I think the challenge here--and we've had some of the questions back and forth--the challenge, I think, is twofold in our bilateral efforts, on what we do directly. One, there is the point that the chairman brought up in his questioning as to the political reaction within Pakistan. It seems like that if there is a direct U.S. involvement, it has a negative political consequence, from the point of view of the local political establishment, which is troubling to us and can compromise the effectiveness of our work. And second, nothing substitutes for Pakistan's capacity to deal with its own issues, whether it's security, economics, or the humanitarian issues of dealing with the displaced individuals. So, it seems to me that the preferred course is what you've been referring to in some of your responses to questions--to enhance the international capacity, obviously, with U.S. involvement and leadership. We saw in the Balkans that the OSCE played a critical role in developing the capacity of governments to deal with the problems of security, economics, and humanitarian issues. They're prepared to do it. There are international organizations that can help us in developing this type of capability, whereas the United States does not have the direct services that can be as effective as the international community in making progress. In Afghanistan, we've found that Afghanistan is a partner for cooperation with the OSCE, and there's a mission working currently dealing with border security that is having some effectiveness. My point is that engaging the international community seems to be a preferred route. Pakistan is not a partner for cooperation with the OSCE. I think that's regrettable. I think Pakistan should be a partner, and it would be in its interest to do that. My point and my question to you is this, ``Is the political response within Pakistan to the involvement of the international community--is there more hope that it would be acceptable to the political establishment in Pakistan--if we did more through the international community than direct United States involvement?'' And what has been the attitude of the Pakistani Government to the assistance from the international community? Mr. Schwartz. Well, you've asked a big question. First of all, I would not diminish the significance of the extent of Pakistani engagement with the international community on these issues. I think there is a willingness and a receptiveness to such engagement, and I think the best evidence of that is on the ground. There are a broad range of international assistance providers and international organizations, on the humanitarian side, as well as the recovery and development side, that Pakistani officials, both at the very senior level, in Islamabad, and also in the field, are engaging effectively. That happens every day of the week, involving organizations from UNHCR to the ICRC, with which the government has a longstanding relationship. Not all governments have this relationship, but the Government of Pakistan does. It also has relationships with the World Food Programme, as well as UNICEF, nongovernmental assistance providers, and of course, the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank. There is this level of comfort in Pakistan with international organizations, so the kind of engagement and capacity-building to which you allude, is very possible, and is largely ongoing. In fact, I think the principal limitations at this point for further engagement and presence of a lot of international organizations, in many respects, is the security situation. Senator Cardin. Would it be a preferred route for the United States policy to strengthen the international presence within Pakistan rather than trying to do this on a bilateral basis? Mr. Schwartz. I think the answer is both, which is reflected in the two witnesses that you have in front of you. My Bureau, the Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration, works primarily through international organizations, such as UNHCR and the ICRC, and others. And that has great value, both for our relationship with Pakistan and for Pakistanis, and for our ability to leverage other governments to do more. At the same time, USAID works largely bilaterally through implementing partners. I think both are important. Both serve valuable purposes, and I think we need to sustain both sets of efforts. As valuable as is the notion of capacity-building, we shouldn't diminish the fact that there is a good deal of capacity in the Pakistani Government already, and not only on the military side. In this particular case, the North West Frontier Province government heads up the civilian side of the IDP effort. On the issue of Afghan refugees, there is a Commissionerate for Afghan Refugees, which is a Pakistan Government entity working with both IDPs and refugees. There is a massive registration process in Pakistan, with the provision of cards for the displaced persons, in which each displaced person receives, I believe the equivalent of about $300 in the return process. This is a massive undertaking, wholly being carried out by Pakistan Government civilian authorities. There is considerable capacity there, but I think--the kind of engagement you're talking about is critical, and we need to sustain it, both at the international organization level, as well as in our bilateral programs. But, let me defer to my colleague on the latter. Mr. Brause. Just one additional comment. I strongly support what the Assistant Secretary said. Having that two-pronged approach is very helpful. With regard to what AID does on the ground, we have seen that the Government of Pakistan, from the time of the Pakistan earthquake until today, has absorbed many critical lessons in the management of a crisis. And so, because they've gotten information and support from the international community, and because they get bilateral support from the United States, they're very much more able, now, to take over some of these programs, and they don't need as much help. We're there to guide them, but they have demonstrated, in this crisis--which we all know was extremely rapid-onset, and has now begun to show that it might be, to some extent at least, extremely rapid in defusing, at least for some of the people--that the Pakistanis really have picked up a lot of the burden on themselves, and have shown some significant capacity to manage the problem. Senator Cardin. Well, I thank you for the response. I'm still not particularly clear as to the effectiveness of the international commitment to Pakistan. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Senator Casey. Senator Cardin, thank you very much. And I want to note, for the record, that Senator Cardin's work on other refugee issues--we had a hearing earlier this year on Iraqi refugees, and I appreciate his work in this area. And Senator Shaheen has demonstrated great patience here, arriving early and--because of the rules of the committee, we go by seniority, and I know what it's like to be at that end of the table in the full committee. So, Senator Shaheen, thank you for your patience, and we might actually give you a couple of extra minutes because of that. [Laughter.] Senator Shaheen. Well, thank you, Mr. Chairman. I've actually moved up today, so I feel pretty good. Thank you both for all of the efforts underway in Pakistan to help the refugees. Mr. Schwartz, as I'm sure you remember at your confirmation hearing, we talked about the challenge facing your agency. And I especially appreciate how quickly you have responded, and your recent visit there. One of--after visiting Pakistan at the end of May--we were there at a time--with a delegation from the Senate--when public opinion had flipped, as you pointed out in your polling, in your remarks, so that there was a change in support for the Taliban and a change in support for the military operation in Swat. Do you have a sense, from your recent visit, of how the public opinion currently is, relative to supporting a military operation, and how much time you think we have, and the Government of Pakistan has, in terms of continuing that operation in a way that maintains their public support? Mr. Schwartz. The honest answer is I don't have information, beyond the polling data to which I referred. I do know that time is a critical issue here, which is why we are both very supportive of what the Pakistani Government is trying to do in Swat and other districts of the North West Frontier Province and agencies of the Federally Administered Tribal Areas, including the military campaign underway and the effort to make areas safe. But, there is a tension, and there is no easy answer to this tension. On the one hand, nobody wants these camps to be around for very long, and the government is determined to see that people go back. At the end of the day, that is the best recipe for sustaining support among the people, especially if they have real opportunities for early recovery and development. At the same time, worse than keeping people in displaced person camps is sending them back prematurely, the result of which is they cannot restart their lives. Even worse, we may encourage secondary migration out, which is why in addition to supporting the Government of Pakistan, we have emphasized the importance of the voluntariness of return. The government understands why we have emphasized that, and that is also the government's policy. But, there is this great tension, and time is a critical element. What I can say is that our support has been absolutely essential in sustaining the fragile progress we have seen. And what are we talking about, here? What we are talking about is-- especially in this border area--groups that threaten our interests directly in the region. They are prepared to attack our soldiers in Afghanistan, and are in close contact with elements that threaten our homeland. It is difficult to overstate the importance of the exercise in which we're engaged. Senator Shaheen. Thank you. I appreciate that reminder that we should all be committed to this effort. There has been some concern expressed, in recent weeks, as we have ramped up our military push in the south of Afghanistan, that that will push more Taliban into Pakistan and further destabilize Pakistan. You mentioned the second--the new phase of this crisis, where we are already seeing more displaced persons from South Waziristan. And what are we doing to ensure that our military efforts in Afghanistan can address the humanitarian crisis--a new phase of this humanitarian crisis that I'm sure is also, as you pointed out, exacerbated by the Pakistani efforts in Waziristan? Mr. Schwartz. Well, you're getting a little bit--more than a little bit--into the area that is really the responsibility of our Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan, Ambassador Holbrooke. I think he should really speak to you about this. What I can say, and I think he would not object to my saying so, is that I believe, for the first time in a long time, we really are developing what I would call a ``whole-of- government effort'' on Pakistan and Afghanistan. Senator Shaheen. But, you--when you--let me just stop you for a minute--when you say ``we are developing,'' you mean the United States---- Mr. Schwartz. The United States of America. Senator Shaheen [continuing]. Effort is a whole---- Mr. Schwartz. I'll explain what I mean. A whole-of- government effort on Pakistan and Afghanistan includes two dimensions. No.1, it means, with the Office of the Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan, making sure that all of the agencies that are operating in this area are operating to a common end. I saw evidence of that in my trip to Pakistan with Ambassador Holbrooke. In his meetings and in our meetings, with AID officials and with other officials, he sought to ensure that a coherent strategic approach was guiding all of the organizations. The second component is viewing the region as a region, and therefore, understanding that what we do in Afghanistan is going to have an impact in terms of Pakistan, and vice versa, which means a much greater degree of contact and communication with the Government of Pakistan and Afghanistan about what's happening in the other country, and a greater degree of coherence and coordination. I think the issue you raised is critical. On the details, you really should speak to Ambassador Holbrooke. This is his terrain. Senator Shaheen. Well, thank you. And we also saw good evidence that we have a much more unified and coordinated approach to the region now, on our visit. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Senator Casey. Thank you, Senator Shaheen. I wanted to move slightly off topic into another region, but, I think, the same issue, and that's refugees in a terrible conflict. I was saying to Assistant Secretary Schwartz that I wanted to ask him, because of his recent travels, not only in Pakistan, but also in Sri Lanka. And I just wanted to get a brief update on what you saw there, in terms of the IDP camps for the Tamil civilians in the south in Sri Lanka. And I guess a couple of basic concerns, if you could address these in your response--the conditions, in there, of those camps, No. 1; No. 2, the continued detention of individuals, if you have a perspective on that; and what I would assert as a lack of any real movement by the Sri Lankan Government toward genuine political reconciliation with the Tamil minority. If you could address those, and then I'll get back to a couple of questions on Pakistan. Mr. Schwartz. Thank you for that question. I think we had a really rich and rewarding visit in Sri Lanka. First, on the conditions. I think our major concern is that the 280,000 Tamils who are in the northern part of the country in displaced persons camps are confined to the camps, and that, in and of itself, is a great source of concern. As a general principle, under international humanitarian principles, displaced persons should not be confined; if they want to leave, they should leave. That's not very complicated. Second-- -- Senator Casey. Right now, it's 280,000? Mr. Schwartz. About 280,000 of whom about 220,000 are in one camp complex, called Manik Farm, the one that I visited. Second, we're concerned that international humanitarian organizations don't have as comfortable and easy access to those camps as we would like them to have. They do have access, but it's not as robust as it should be. The conditions in the camp are not great, but the government and international and local partners are doing their best to meet basic needs, but there are problems that need to be addressed, which I discussed with the government. The government told me they are committed to the return of this population as quickly as they can do it. Our position is that it should be quicker; it should be as quick as possible. I was encouraged. I learned, on this trip, that the government intends to return as many as 40,000 or more displaced persons to their homes over the next 4 weeks. If that happens, it's a good thing. It's not as much as we want, but it would at least demonstrate a degree of seriousness about the prospects for return. When we got there, we had this issue of how do we thread the needle. On the one hand, how do we provide assistance to people who need it without creating the implication that we're supporting a process that we have fundamental concerns about? What we've done, and what we announced during our visit, was an additional commitment of $8 million for State and AID resources for the return process. We want to do what we can to accelerate and promote and send the signal that it is now about return. This money will be used to promote return, to promote a recovery in areas to which people are going. I also told the government, and the government welcomed this, which was good news to me, that I will come back, over the next several months. I will try to keep as much of the pressure on as we possibly can. Senator Casey. Thank you for that response. Because of what I just heard from our staff, we're going to have a rollcall vote at 11:30, I may have to switch gears to the second panel quickly. Before we leave--and I want to offer each of you a minute to make any concluding remarks, if you wanted to--and we'll submit other questions for the record. Please speak to this question of the failure of more countries within the international community to respond positively, as the United States has--if either of you have a perspective or an opinion on that, I wanted to do that, and then we'll wrap up. Mr. Schwartz. I'll say, very briefly, I think that we have seen some progress on the international aid effort. Other governments have committed to about $330 million in assistance. Only about $150 million of that has come forward. Senator Casey. Let me just interject for 1 minute--is it correct to say that only 42 percent of the overall appeal, which I guess the original appeal was about $543 million---- Mr. Schwartz. That's exactly right. Senator Casey [continuing]. Only 42 percent of that appeal has been pledged, to date, by the international community overall. Is that about right? Mr. Schwartz. That is correct. I can't explain, completely, why other governments are not doing what they should in this instance. But, I think we need to continue to press as hard as we can. The other thing I think we need to do is demonstrate leadership. This year, for assistance for Pakistan and Afghanistan, my Bureau will have spent about $150 million in fiscal year 2009. The numbers that are being discussed for fiscal year 2010 are not nearly that high. They are about half that total. We need to be prepared to expect the same level of need over those next 12 months. And I think we're going to have to figure out ways to demonstrate continued leadership on this issue. Senator Casey. Thank you. Mr. Brause, I wanted to---- Mr. Brause. I just have---- Senator Casey. I wasn't ignoring you. I was just---- Mr. Brause. No, that's OK. I have to support what the Assistant Secretary said. We make every effort to encourage the other donors, whenever we meet with them in our bilateral meetings--there have also been numerous demarches--but, we can't wait to let the--wait for the other donors to respond. We do have to demonstrate leadership on these critical issues. And I think we will continue to do that. Senator Casey. Thank you. And I know I'm cutting our first panel short, but in order to get to the second panel, and not to interrupt them by leaving for a vote, I wanted to make a transition. Thank you both for your testimony, and especially for your public service at a critical time in our Nation's history, especially with regard to Pakistan and the challenges there, and as well as in the region. We will now move to our second panel, and I'll start, by way of introduction, so they can be seated in place for their testimony. I wanted to welcome our second panel. Our second panel will provide a nongovernmental perspective on the IDP challenge in Pakistan. We're fortunate to have two leading experts and scholars with us today. Our first witness is no stranger to this witness table, Ambassador Wendy Chamberlin, who has enjoyed a remarkable career, spending almost 30 years serving our Nation as a Foreign Service officer. She became the U.S. Ambassador to Pakistan in July 2001, only weeks before the terrible events of September the 11, 2001, transformed our bilateral relationship. Ambassador Chamberlin subsequently served in senior leadership positions at USAID and UNHCR before assuming the presidency of the Middle East Institute. Ambassador, thank you for being here. Our second witness, Imtiaz Ali, is a Jennings Randolph Senior Fellow at the U.S. Institute of Peace. Mr. Ali is a Pakistani journalist who has spent a significant amount of time in Pakistan's tribal belt bordering Afghanistan, and is one of the leading experts on the Taliban insurgency in Pakistan and its links with al-Qaeda. We welcome both witnesses today to proceed with their testimony. In the interest of time, I'd ask you to be as short as you possible can. Both of your statements will be submitted for the record. So, why don't we first start with Ambassador Chamberlin. Thank you so much for being here. STATEMENT OF HON. WENDY CHAMBERLIN, PRESIDENT, MIDDLE EAST INSTITUTE, FORMER AMBASSADOR TO PAKISTAN, WASHINGTON, DC Ambassador Chamberlin. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman. And I will try to be brief. I'll tell you, it's an honor to be here, and thank you for holding this hearing on such an important subject. And it's an honor for me to be here with Imtiaz Ali. Look, I'll try to make just a couple of points that I think were not made by my very able colleagues on the first panel. First, there are a number of positive developments as we look at the IDP situation, and they're worth mentioning. This has been the first time in recent history when most parts of the Pakistani society have come together in support of their government's operation against the militants. The--all parties conference, in April, followed by a religious conference of religious leaders. And then, the world opinion poll that we have remarked upon in the previous panel all show a solidarity of the people of Pakistan for the army's move into the region. Second, the army has showed resolve. It sent 15,000 troops. It put the lie to those that thought that it might not move, that there were elements within the army--that we've read about in the press, speculation--it might not move against the Taliban. They did. And they developed a hard smack to the Taliban, there. And third, there are factors within the Swat Valley that will make reconstruction a little bit easier than it would be, let's say, in FATA or Afghanistan. The highest literacy rates in Pakistan are in the Swat Valley. There's a large middle class from this area. And the infrastructure is more developed than it is elsewhere. Need to rebuild it, but at least it was there in the first place. But, there are points of concern, and I'll try to be very brief. One, yes, security, I agree, I don't think the security is there. People are returning, and it is not yet secure. The government is talking about doing the right things. It's talking about augmenting the police, doubling the salary, the miserable salaries that the police get. They're talking about doubling it and recruiting, to augment the police, from retired army sergeants. That's great, but it hasn't happened yet. We ought to be mindful of that. They're talking about establishing a cantonment--a permanent cantonment of military officers in the region to secure the area in case the Taliban come back. But, it hasn't happened yet. These are important. And it is exceedingly important that, as you point out--and I'd just like to underscore your point-- that you get the security piece right, because this feeds right into the Taliban narrative, that only they can provide security, that only they can provide law and order and justice. They have to do it their way, the harsh way. But, the government must move in, and it isn't, yet. I'd like to see a plan for rebuilding and reconstruction. I'm not sure there is one yet. We know it's going to require a lot of money. We've heard, on the previous panel, that the Congress has been extremely generous in the relief phase. But, we'll be entering into the reconstruction phase. That will require more United States funds, more Pakistani funds, more international funds. And, as yet, I'm not sure there's a very clear plan for reconstruction yet. That's another concern. And a final concern is to look a little bit longer into the future, Mr. Senator. And I will stop at this. But, there are-- with any major conflict and movements of refugees, there are social disruptions that the society never really bounces back to the way it was before. The way it was before in the Swat Valley was romantic. People went there for their honeymoons. It will never--every hotel has been damaged. It is unlikely that the landlords will return to the valley. It's been, traditionally, a feudal society. We saw the article, in the New York Times the other day, that the landlords have resettled and feel too unsafe to go back. But, what will happen, then? Because as landlords leave, as the feudal--in a feudal society, as they leave, the systems, the mechanisms, the social mechanisms for resolving disputes, et cetera, won't be there. And it offers--it opens up an opportunity--perhaps Imtiaz can speak to this--for the Taliban to move in, to do their own redistribution of land, to offer their own disputes settlement mechanisms. This can't be, because the army's move into this region just to defend a system that it can--that is a vacuum is not sustainable. We need to think about the unthinkable. You don't mention land reform in Pakistan, because so many of the elites and parliamentarians are landowners, and it has such an impact on other regions of the country. But, it's worth starting that dialogue. And then, my final point--because I see my light is flashing--is the poor. The poorest of the poor have left. They had nothing when they left, they have nothing now--except for, perhaps, $300, but only some of them have that--and they have nothing to go back to. We ought to consider the fact that perhaps they won't go back, that they will stay in the ridges of Pakistan, where they've sought shelter. These are impacted areas. And perhaps some of our assistance ought to be redirected to help those areas, as well. A lot more to say, but we can get to that in the question and answers. Thank you. [The prepared statement of Ambassador Chamberlin follows:] Prepared Statement of Hon. Wendy J. Chamberlin, President of the Middle East Institute, Washington, DC Mr. Chairman, I would sincerely like to thank you for holding the hearing this morning aimed at calling attention to the humanitarian situation of internally displaced people in Pakistan. I welcome the opportunity to speak to the subcommittee on the compelling situation of internal refugees and to comment on measures the United States could take with the Pakistani Government to advance our mutual interests. Mr. Chairman, a great deal of international attention is riveted on the plight of the 1 million-plus refugees who were driven from their homes in Malakand Division last April. These refugees fled to avoid getting caught in the cross-fire as the Pakistani Army moved into the region to restore the writ of government. There are two other groups of internal refugees who add to the swollen numbers of people victimized by extremist actions. An estimated 500,000 people left the Swat Valley region last year to escape the persecution of extremists affiliated with the TNSM. Often called ``Taliban'' in our media, TNSM extremists, led by Maulana Fazlullah and supported by his father-in-law, Sufi Muhammed, openly targeted and terrorized anyone who resisted their harsh code of behavior and repressive rule including the Army, police, civil servants, and even little girls attending schools. Fighting between the Pakistan Army and Taliban leader Baitullah Mehsud in northern Waziristan drove a third group of several tens of thousands of refugees from their homes over a year ago. Substantial numbers have not yet found it safe enough to return home. All three waves of internal refugees are victims of extremist violence. All three groups need assistance from their government and international donors to provide security, rebuild communities, and reclaim lost livelihoods. Mr. Chairman, as the United States engages with the Government of Pakistan to assist civilian victims of terrorism, we must also be mindful that we are facing a common enemy. The militant fighters, who declared war on the Pakistan Government as the ``near enemy,'' also attack the United States and Western interests as the ``far enemy.'' While the Pakistan Army is making concerted progress toward routing the Taliban in Malakand, the threat in Waziristan, FATA and indeed, deep inside Pakistan's cities is still quite worrisome. Our immediate priority is to assist Islamabad to rebuild the Malakand Division so that the refugees can return in safety and dignity. At the same time, we must also prepare for the eventuality that other large groups of civilians in the future may have to flee extremist violence elsewhere in Pakistan. Mr. Chairman, there are a number of developments regarding the situation in the Swat Valley and Malakand Division that are positive. For the first time this last May the Pakistani public, security forces, and civilian political and religious leaders united against extremist groups and ideology that threatened the idea of Pakistan as a moderate, democratic state. Nearly all political parties joined the All Parties Conference in mid-May in support of the Army's push into Swat. A week later religious leaders led by cleric Sarfaraz Naeemi held a national conference and declared suicide bombings and beheadings to be un-Islamic. When extremists assassinated Sarfaraz Naeemi 2 weeks later, the overwhelming majority of Pakistan's public condemned the Taliban. A sea change in public opinion moved against extremist Taliban, as confirmed by the recent World opinion poll. A second point of optimism is that the Pakistan Army showed resolve in its operation against the Taliban in Malakand. Tamping down doubts that the Army would not move against the Taliban, the Army deployed 15,000 troops. Militant fighters were hit hard and dispersed quickly. People are now returning. Third, the government understands the critical need to provide security for the people of Malakand and that local police play a unique role for domestic security. Islamabad has taken several landmark moves to augment local police by establishing a plan to engage retired Army sergeants and doubling police salaries that had been dismally low. The police augmentation has not yet been deployed. Cost and implementation difficulties are obstacles. Again, the United States should make police training a priority in its aid programs to Pakistan. A point that I cannot emphasize enough is that a surge in police is necessary but it should also be accompanied by an immediate deployment of judges and courts. The returning population must feel protected by all aspects of their government. A fourth point is that rapid reconstruction of infrastructure damaged by military shelling is vital for recovery and to solidify public confidence in the government. In many ways, the speed of recovery will define the success of the operation against the extremists. A great deal of work must be done, but some early reports are that rebuilding will be less difficult in the Swat Valley than in other conflict areas like Afghanistan or even FATA. The Swat Valley stands out in Pakistan for having a large middle class, high literacy rate, and relatively developed infrastructure. A final advantage as the people of the Malakand Division begin to return to their homes is that the United States is generously and swiftly preparing to provide substantial aid to rebuild. Secretary Hillary Clinton and Ambassador Richard Holbrooke have announced an additional $165 million in aid for immediate refugee and reconstruction needs. It is important that U.S. reconstruction teams be permitted to assess the damage so that American aid can quickly assist returning refugees. If U.S. and other international aid are used effectively, and there is no reason to think otherwise, the aid could have a stimulus impact on the local economy. However, there are a number of other issues that continue to raise concern. Security is still inadequate. The Pakistan Army hit the extremists hard, but there are credible reports that Taliban remnants have regrouped and are again targeting civilians, particularly those they believe supported the government. The military objective of establishing a ``cleared zone'' may not necessarily mean it is a ``safe zone'' for returning families. It is, therefore, encouraging that the Pakistani Army has understood the need to remain in the region for many months to assure security and is talking about maintaining semipermanent cantonments. Talk has not turned into a concrete plan and our government can help by providing protective gear and specialized equipment for the military in those areas. Related to the need for continued military presence is the requirement for an augmented community police force in anticipation of an uptick in crime as refugees return to the conflict areas. The local Pushtoon culture in the Malakand Division has a tradition of reprisals against perceived injustices to family members. Once people return, we could expect to see an upsurge in retaliatory violence against individuals and family members believed to be involved in the conflict. The government may want to consider programs to encourage reconciliation. A final concern is the likelihood that the conflict will have launched social forces that will permanently change the society and culture of the Swat Valley. The Pakistan people and government demonstrated solidarity in its action to prevent the spread of extremism, but there has been no public dialogue about the future of the region. The Swat Valley is well regarded as a favorite vacation spot for Pakistanis. It is also known for its feudal system, only recently integrated into the federal Pakistani state. Mr. Chairman, the Taliban have been very shrewd in winning support by exploiting local peasant resentment of a feudal system. If the government action is not more than reestablishing the status quo, little has been accomplished. Mr. Chairman, Pakistanis ought to engage in a serious dialogue on the future of feudalism in modern times. The issue of land reform has long been consider a ``no go subject'' within government circles dominated by elite landowners. The Taliban have demonstrated that the appeal of land reform to impoverished people is a powerful political motivator. I doubt the status quo is even a possibility. Many landowners who for centuries were at the center of administrative and judicial traditions, will not find it safe enough to return anytime soon. Targeted and terrorized by the extremists over the past year, tens of thousands had already moved their families from the region long before the April military operations. It is important that the government move swiftly to provide a responsive administrative and judicial system to fill a vacuum created by the breakdown of traditional mechanisms to resolve disputes. It goes without saying that failure to do so will provide an opening for the extremists who have proved adept in exploiting not only the people's resentment of feudalism, but also the modern state's inability to provide an efficient, just judicial system. A final word on permanent social disruption; there is a real possibility that the poorest of the poor may never return to their homes in the Malakand Division. Beyond the stipend of about $300 provided by the government to refugee households, many of the poor do not have the means to return to their homes. They own nothing, and have no incentive to return. Some analysts speculate that many poor will remain in the districts and communities where they fled, thereby adding to the social burden of other affected areas in Pakistan. U.S. aid programs must consider aid projects throughout these regions as well. Mr. Chairman, as the committee requested, I would like to conclude with a few recommendations for the United States as it aims to ameliorate the suffering of Pakistan's internally displaced. My remarks will be addressed to the three Ds that Secretary Clinton has identified--development, diplomacy, and defense. Mr. Chairman, as an American citizen and one who understands the importance of our good relations with the Pakistani people, I am proud of the swift and generous support the Congress and our government have provided to meet the critical needs of destitute civilians displaced by war. Most of this aid is channeled through nongovernment organizations (NGOs) and the United Nations who are committed to working under dangerous conditions to help the needy. My recommendation is that we find a way to make the generousity of the American people more visible to the Pakistani public. Our recent experience during the 2005 earthquake relief operations proved that the Pakistani public is genuinely appreciative of American humanitarian and development aid. Favorable opinion of the United States more than doubled immediately after the earthquake emergency, greatly aided by then-President Musharraf who stood before the Pakistani media and called U.S. helicopters ``angels of mercy. Mr. Chairman, I agree with the position of InterAction, (an umbrella group of American NGOs), that U.S. aid should not be delivered with the purpose of ``winning hearts and minds.'' Aid rarely wins people over in military scenarios; and, importantly, ``winning hearts and minds'' for political purposes distracts from our central mission of administering to those in need. However, Mr. Chairman, I strongly believe that our Government's humanitarian and development aid projects should have an American face. Our people should work directly with those we are assisting. Yes, it is very risky for Americans to work in the field in places like Iraq, Afghanistan, and parts of Pakistan. For this reason only humanitarian volunteers should be asked to deploy in particularly dangerous areas. Far too many times, even volunteers are prevented from directly serving the neediest by our government, and in this scenario, by the host government. The point I would like to make is that we should have an informed dialogue on the levels of acceptable risk for our aid workers. U.S. officials are asked to stay behind compound walls when the aim is to help people in distress. There is a very large community of Pakistani-Americans who could help. Many are eager to serve both their country of nationality and the country of ethnic origin. Mr. Chairman, just as a large bulk of our funding for the internal refugees in Pakistan is delivered by United Nations Agencies and is not visible as aid from the people of the United States, another chunk of our aid passes through Pakistani Government ministries. I understand the value of using our aid to build the human and organizational capacity of federal ministries to manage projects. On the other hand, I also believe the Pakistani public would feel reassured if they saw more American citizens on the ground distributing aid directly to the needy. Mr. Chairman, turning to the second D of diplomacy, I believe Ambassador Holbrooke and Ambassador Anne Patterson are extremely effective representatives and are both highly regarded by the people of Pakistan. The paradox is that while the United States is doing more than any other nation to help the refugees and support the government's campaign against unpopular Taliban, the United States is still deeply distrusted. The World Opinion Poll conducted in May of this year reported that a very large majority of Pakistanis are united in supporting Army operations against the Taliban, are overwhelmingly against a Taliban regime ruling Pakistan, and reject al-Qaeda bases on Pakistani soil. Yet, at the same time, the same polls also found large majorities holding an unfavorable view of the current U.S. Government. The most persuasive explanation for this disconnect is that the historical ``trust deficit'' between our two governments and people is still quite pervasive. I believe the trust deficit is the single biggest obstacle to both our nations attaining our goal--the goal we share--of guaranteeing a stable, prosperous, democratic Pakistan. Effective public diplomacy can play a role in closing the trust gap. Pakistan has a vibrant and free press that has enormous influence over the population of 170 million. We saw the power of the Pakistani media in the swift reversal of public opinion in April after the media broadcast the savagery of so-called Taliban justice. Our public diplomacy could do more to address the disconnect between public rejection of the Taliban and public distrust of the one international partner who is doing the most to help Pakistan resist this extremist threat. We should carry our message directly to the Pakistani people through direct engagement with their own media and minimize coverage as part of our meetings with high ranking officials. Finally, on the third D of defense--a consistent element of the trust deficit is the stubborn view in Pakistan that the United States is a fickle ally. Most of the population believes we use Pakistan when it suits us and readily abandon our friend when we have achieved our objectives. They believe we will do so again by pulling up stakes in Afghanistan. A substantial element, although not all, of Pakistan's establishment believes there is an Israeli/Indian/American collusion to squeeze Pakistan from its eastern and western borders, break up the state, and seize its nuclear weapons. Nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, the United States and Pakistan are fighting a common enemy in both Pakistan and Afghanistan. We seek the same outcome--a stable prosperous and democratic Pakistan. My recommendation, Mr. Chairman, is that the United States speaks with one clear voice. Our consistent message is that we are joined with the Pakistanis against a common enemy. The Taliban and al-Qaeda are dead-end movements that threaten their people and state and force people to flee their homes. Our unfaltering message is that we will stay in Afghanistan until the extremist Taliban threat there is spent, however long it takes. Those within the Pakistani establishment that still cling to historic relations with Taliban as a hedge on the day the United States will leave the region must understand that that day will not come. We wish to work with a Pakistan ally that understands the value of our partnership and supports our joint efforts to defeat extremist who aim to bring down the Government in Islamabad and do harm to the far enemy in the West. Senator Casey. Thank you, Ambassador Chamberlin. And, Mr. Ali, welcome. STATEMENT OF IMTIAZ ALI, JENNINGS RANDOLPH SENIOR FELLOW, UNITED STATES INSTITUTE OF PEACE, WASHINGTON, DC Mr. Ali. Thank you, Senator Casey and distinguished members, though there are no other members here at the moment. [Laughter.] Mr. Ali. I will be brief. Senator Casey. Let me say this for the record, though, we had seven Senators here today---- Mr. Ali. OK. Senator Casey [continuing]. At various times. [Laughter.] And for those who keep score on subcommittee attendance, that's way above the average. [Laughter.] I do appreciate the colleagues who were here and---- Mr. Ali. That came--yes. The most of the important points have already been addressed. I will be brief and will summarize my written remarks. One of the lesser known, but equally critical, facts about the IDP crisis, that less than 20 percent of the IDPs took shelter in the refugee camps, which were established by the Pakistani Government with the help of aid organizations. The majority of the IDPs have sought refuge in the homes of local Pashtun host families. And the Pashtun villages in Mardan and Swabi elders have assembled meetings and pooled their resources to provide shelter for the IDPs from Swat, despite their limited resources. Whenever people would talk about the IDPs or refugees, they were reminded, ``They--the Pashtun--are our host.'' Last month, I went to Pakistan with Special Envoy Ambassador Richard Holbrooke as part of the Presidential mission to assist the IDP crisis. I went with Ambassador Holbrooke to the IDP camps in Mardan, and we talked to a number of people residing there. After the official trip, I stayed on for a few days to visit my hometown in District Mardan, which has a huge influx of the IDPs. I saw firsthand the hospitality my own village people extended to the IDPs from Swat. Lower and middle-class families in Mardan and Swabi districts shared food, bedrooms, and washrooms. When asked about the IDPs, even the poorest Pashtun in Mardan and Swabi said, ``They are our guests. Don't call them IDPs. Don't call them refugees. It is part of our Pashtun tradition and culture to help them out.'' Now, we see that IDPs have started returning to their homes on July 13. And according to some official figures, 600,000 individuals have, so far, been returned to Mingora, the capital of Swat, and to the adjacent areas in Swat and neighboring parts of Buner. What are the big challenges? First, the big challenge is security. Of course, IDPs want to go back to their homes. They want to live again in the place they lost to the Taliban militants. But, their concern is the resurgence of the militants. The big concern raised not only by the IDPs, but throughout Pakistan, is the threat of the Taliban leadership. If Maulana Fazlullah, the Taliban leader in Swat, and his top commanders are still at large, and they are able to make headlines through their audio messages and resurfaced illegal FM radio stations, then it will be hard for the IDPs or those who are still living in the camps with the host families, to go back. The second important challenge is employment and economic development. It is too early to assess the actual damages to economic development and employment. However, initial reports suggest large-scale destruction and robberies of businesses and homes. The government's initial figure mentioned losses to infrastructure of $390 million. The third important challenge is education. Close to 200 girls' schools have been destroyed by the Taliban militants. This has left thousands of girls without any means of education. When the IDPs go back, there will be no schooling for many girls. That is a very important area. How was the response of the United States during this crisis? The United States has a good model: The 2005 earthquake in the northern Pakistan and Kashmir. It was the first time that America found a good rating among the Pakistani people for the work they did for the affected people in the earthquake zone. In my opinion, the Obama administration realized the scope of the IDP crisis quickly, and its response, thus far, has been encouraging. President Obama's special envoy went twice to the region to see the IDP situation. If local newspapers are to be believed, Ambassador Holbrooke spent more time in the refugee camps talking to the IDPs than the Pakistani politicians. Dr. Nasim Ashraf, of the Middle East Institute, who works with Ambassador Wendy Chamberlin, conducted a survey about the IDPs. He found that when Pakistanis were asked if they had received any help from the United States, 72 percent said, ``No.'' He was quoted in a news article, saying, ``The common man in Pakistan doesn't know that, you know, Secretary Clinton here has announced $200 million, because they don't know that it ever gets there to them.'' This is a big dilemma for the United States. The people on the ground do not know about American aid. The Obama administration should work on how to reach out to the Pakistani people. In terms of recommendations, I suggest focusing on several key issues. Policing. This is a very critical area. The United States should help the NWFP and the Pakistani Government develop community policing at the village level. There is an urgent need for a strong, well-trained, and well-equipped police force. This is the case not only in the Swat Valley, but in the Frontier and the whole of Pakistan. When the Taliban extended their writ in Swat a few months ago, the police force completely collapsed and put up no resistance. Compensation. The United States should help the Pakistani Government and local NGOs give a compensation package to the victims of military oppression. The package should include enough money to reconstruct damaged homes, restart businesses, and meet the living requirements of a meaningful period for a time for the IDPs. The amount should be much larger than the current $312 for an IDP family, which the amount the Pakistani Government is providing at this time. Schools, Hospitals, and Roads. Most people are aware that the United States has been using drones and missiles in the tribal region to target and attack militants' hideouts. The attacks also sometimes have civilian casualties, loss of lives, and injuries to the civilian population, including woman and children. As a part of the rehabilitation of the IDPs, the United States should help rebuild schools, hospitals, and roads destroyed by the Taliban militants. Microfinance Banking. With the help of the Pakistani Government and NGOs, the United States can help launch microfinance facilities for the people of Swat and FATA. Local Pashtun Media. Establishing, promoting, and encouraging local Pashtun media is needed at this time. In the absence of a strong local Pashtun media, people of Swat and FATA have become a captive audience to the pirated Taliban FM radio stations. Fazlullah's radio station, which earned him the nickname of ``FM Mullah,'' contributed to the fall of Swat into the hands of the Taliban. Cultural Sport Activities. This area has been long ignored by the successive Pakistani regimes, as well as by the international donors. There is a lack of sports and cultural facilities for the youth in tribal regions and many parts of the NWFP. But, this is one of the potential areas in which a long-term investment can stop the drift of young people into extremism. I think the revival of a secular Pashtun culture and tradition is essential for stopping the march of the Taliban in the border region. In conclusion, I salute the IDPs and the rest of Pakistan's people, particularly the Pashtuns of Mardan and Swabi, for their sacrifices in helping the IDPs. The future of the war against terrorism in Pakistan now depends more profoundly than anyone expected on how well the situation of the IDPs is addressed. If properly treated, these Pashtuns can be a bulwark against Taliban militants. Irrespective of their ethnic background, the Pashtuns have long been accused as the supporters and sympathizers of the Taliban and al-Qaeda. However, because of the IDP crisis, that situation has changed. Now they should be regarded as the bulwark against militants. I wish that all the people of Swat, Buner, and other parts of the tribal region will return to their homes and once again start living a peaceful life in their valley once known as the ``Switzerland of Pakistan.'' Being a Pashtun myself, I would like to believe that one day they will say that during their most difficult times, not only the whole of Pakistan, but the whole world, stood with them. Thank you. And I look forward to your questions. [The prepared statement of Mr. Ali follows:] Prepared Statement by Imtiaz Ali, Jennings Randolph Senior Fellow, U.S. Institute of Peace (USIP), Washington, DC Thank you, Senator Casey and distinguished members of the subcommittee for providing me with the opportunity to testify before you on the IDP crisis in the Swat Valley and the North West Frontier province of Pakistan. This is a phenomenon that poses serious threat to Pakistan and ultimately to the American security interests, but if handled correctly, can be an opportunity to promote them. I am currently a Jennings Randolph Senior Fellow at the U.S. Institute of Peace. I am a journalist by training and have spent a great deal of time reporting on Pakistan's tribal belt and North West Frontier province along the Afghan border. The views I express today are my own and not those of the U.S. Institute of Peace, which does not advocate specific policy positions. As you know, the crisis in Pakistan is by most metrics the biggest internal displacement in recent history. According to Pakistani officials and several U.N. agencies, the number of people forced to flee since fighting began this spring between Taliban militants and the Pakistani Army is more than 2 million. Most of these refugees fled to the neighboring districts of Mardan and Swabi, the closest and most accessible regions still unaffected by the fighting. A lesser known, but equally critical fact, is that less than 20 percent of the IDPs took shelter in the refugee camps set up by the government and aid organizations. Instead, the majority of the IDPs have sought refuge in the homes of local Pashtun ``host'' families. In many of the Pashtun villages in Mardan and Swabi, elders have assembled meetings and pooled resources to provide shelter for the IDPs from Swat, despite limited resources. Tellingly, these ``host families'' tend not to refer to the new guests as IDPs or refugees, but as community members entitled to the benefits of the centuries-long tradition of Pashtun hospitality. The Pakistani Government did a good job responding to this crisis, especially considering its limited resources--which is why it was compelled to solicit international aid. Though, many Pakistanis have mixed feelings about the fair distribution of aid and some other aid- related concerns. However, it is clear that the overwhelming majority of the people supported military operations in the Swat Valley. Last month I went to Pakistan with the special envoy, Ambassador Richard Holbrooke, as part of the Presidential mission to look into the IDP crisis. I went with Ambassador Holbrooke to the IDP camps in Mardan and talked to a number of people residing there. After the official trip, I stayed on for a few days to visit my hometown in District Mardan, where I saw firsthand the hospitality my own village people extended to IDPs from Swat. Lower- and middle-class families in Mardan and Swabi districts shared food, bedrooms, and washrooms. When asked about the IDPs, even the poorest Pashtun in Mardan and Swabi said, ``They are our guests. Don't call them IDPs. Don't call them refugees. It is part of our Pashtun tradition and culture to help them out.'' And yet it was evident that hosting so many people has put an immense strain on these predominantly poor communities. Meanwhile, most of the well-intentioned national and international aid is being directed toward camps serving only a small portion of the community in need, with too few resources reaching the communities absorbing the majority of the IDPs. Many fallacious reports underrepresented the number of IDPs living with the local host families, which has led to a lack of focus on communities as de facto refugee camps. One attempted means of reaching out to the overwhelming majority of the IDPs in need of aid was to employ the network of District Government system led by an elected district Nazim (Mayor). But, it was not properly used because of an ongoing power struggle between District Nazims and the bureaucracy. Pakistani higher ups and international dignitaries paid visits to some of the camps which, in my opinion, were what I would call ``VIP Camps'' because they were set up as showcases with all the necessary facilities and more than enough food, deliberately hiding the real situation on the ground. Few of the influential people who have visited Pakistan have gone to see host families in order to thank them for their generosity in giving shelter to the IDPs in their moments of need. That said, this was a unique crisis in many ways: The sheer number of the displaced people, the speed of the mass exodus, and then the overwhelming response from the local people and the rest of Pakistan to support the displaced people. The problems of the displaced people are both short term and long term. In the short term, the problem was to provide immediate relief, especially shelter, food, drinking water, medicine, etc. That part will soon come to an end with the repatriation of the Swat IDPs. However, the long-term problem is a daunting task: The IDPs need rehabilitation in their hometowns and substantial help is needed to rebuild and reconstruct the damaged infrastructure. IDPs started returning to their hometowns on July 13 and, according to official figures, over 600,000 individuals have so far been returned to Mingora, the capital of Swat, and to the adjacent areas in Swat and neighboring parts of Buner. However, the problem is still far from over. THE CHALLENGES AHEAD As the intensity of military operation in the Swat Valley winds down and the displaced people make their way back to their hometowns, the next phase involving the rehabilitation of the IDPs is expected to be as challenging as the first phase of immediate relief. The provincial government in the North West Frontier province (NWFP) has set up a Provincial Relief, Rehabilitation and Settlement Authority (PaRRSA) which, according to official statements, will be responsible for planning and coordinating the overall rehabilitation and resettlement of internally displaced persons and reconstruction of the areas affected by military operations. PaRRSA is part of the Provincial Disaster Management Authority (PDMA)--a separate body already set up for dealing with the IDPs issue. IDPs will face three immediate problems when returning and reaching their home areas:
Security; Economic development and employment; Education. SECURITY--TALIBAN LEADERSHIP STILL AT LARGE Of course, IDPs want to go back to their homes. They want to live again in the place that they lost to the Taliban militants. The Pakistani Government has also been telling people that most areas have been cleared of militants and now they can go back to their homes. However, despite the government claims of clearing Swat from militants, many IDPs regard the situation as somehow deceptive--people are still confused about whether to return or not, mainly because of the security concerns. Repatriation of the IDPs to their hometowns will largely depend on the security situation. The Army claims that militants have been routed from most parts of Swat. Local journalists have confirmed that several important Taliban commanders have been killed and many had been arrested during the operation. According to them, however, the situation is still far from stable. Still, there are some pockets of resistance that scare the returning IDPs. Reports reaching Washington suggest that Taliban militants are still holding their positions in the Kabal area of Swat. However, the big concern raised by not only the IDPs but throughout Pakistan is the fate of the Taliban leadership. If Maulana Fazlullah--Taliban leader in Swat--and his top commanders are still at large and they are able to make headlines through their audio messages and sometimes through their resurfaced illegal FM radio stations, then it will be hard for those IDPs who have gone back to safely live there, and next to impossible for those who are still in the camps and with host families to safely return. A shortage of food and continuous curfew in many areas where people have recently returned are also serious problems. Curfews prevent people from leaving their homes after dark in Kabal, Matta, Kanjoo, even though a family member may have become seriously ill. When those still living in camps come to know about this situation, they will likely be frightened and reconsider returning. Another problem, as I see it, is that many of the politicians and landlords with second homes in Islamabad or Peshawar have also left Swat in the wake of fighting and are not willing to go back. They are influential layers of society. If they do not return, the ordinary people will be unable to ward off the militants, especially when the top leadership of the Taliban is still intact. Not only the people of Swat, but the overwhelming majority of Pakistanis has been demanding a more effective military operation against the Taliban so that the militants and their leadership do not find ways to flee the conflict areas and then filter back into Swat Valley when quiet has returned. This is, I believe, a critical issue in the wake of unprecedented sacrifice by the IDPs. ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT AND EMPLOYMENT It is too early to assess the actual damages to economic development and employment. However, initial reports suggest large- scale destruction and robberies of businesses and homes. The government's initial figures mention losses to infrastructure at $390 million. Crops have been ruined in many areas. According to local journalists, the Army has now told people not to grow the maize (corn) crop this season because it is used by Taliban as cover to hide themselves in the fields. But, people say they have no other means of ensuring sufficient food and if the government stops them from sowing maize and other food crops, then the government should support them with cash to support their families. In this situation, many people who go back to their homes in farming areas will not have jobs or crops in their fields. This is one of the most important areas to be addressed. By some conservative estimates, the rehabilitation of the IDPs will cost billions of dollars. Earlier estimates mentioned by the government were over $60 billion--both infrastructure and compensations. However, assessments are underway and new figures are yet to be made public. The government has provided IDPs families with ATM cards each worth $312.00 (25,000 Pakistani rupees) to get cash for their daily use. Twenty-five thousand Pakistani rupees is fine for a few days when a family goes back to its ruined home, but it cannot feed a family for any longer period of time. Many families have problems getting the cards because of wrong registration numbers, nonregistration as IDPs, etc. EDUCATION Close to 200 girls' schools have been destroyed by the Taliban militants. This has left thousands of girls without any means of education. Reconstructing schools and providing security necessary for parents to be comfortable sending their daughters to school is a significant project in its own right. Before the uptick in violence, around 70,000 to 80,000 girls were enrolled in schools in the Swat district. Following Taliban threats, many stopped going to school because of fear for their safety. IDPS CRISIS--THE U.S. RESPONSE The United States was a good role model of 2005 earthquake in northern Pakistan and Kashmir when it acted expediently and tactfully and found a favorable rating among Pakistanis for the first time in recent history. This spring the United States was again presented with an opportunity to prove itself a positive force when the IDP crisis began in the northwest of Pakistan. The United States has a much bigger opportunity today to improve its image in a region that is reeling under the deep-rooted anti-Americanism. In my view the Obama administration realized the scope of the crisis quickly and its response thus far has been encouraging. President Obama's special envoy went twice to the region to see the IDP situation. If local newspapers are to be believed, Ambassador Holbrooke spent more time in the refugee camps talking to the IDPs than the Pakistani ruling elites did. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced a ``Text Swat'' SMS campaign--whereby you could text the word ``SWAT'' to the number ``20222'' and $5 would be donated to the U.N. Pakistan Relief Fund to provide food, water, medicine, clothing, shelter, and other basic necessities to the IDPs. These efforts are commendable, and to those in Pakistan that are aware of them, an example of the United States capacity and inclination to render aid. Still, there is a persistent question of whether the aid has been effective, especially whether it has gone to the right people. It's pertinent to mention here that Nasim Ashraf, executive director of Pakistan Studies Center at the Middle East Institute, has been quoted in the media that he has conducted a survey about the IDPs and found that when they were asked if they had received any help from the United States, 72 percent said ``No.'' He was quoted in a news article saying, ``The common man [in Pakistan] doesn't know that, you know, Secretary Clinton here has announced $200 million [dollars of aid] because they don't think that it ever gets there to them.'' This is a big dilemma for the United States. The people on the ground do not know about American aid. The Obama administration should work on how to reach out to the Pakistani people. SUGGESTIONS FOR THE BEST UTILIZATION OF U.S. AID Winning hearts and minds of the Pakistani people will take years and will require long-term as well as short-term policies. Policing: United States should help the NWFP government develop community policing at the village level to give people a sense of security. There is an urgent need for a strong, well-trained and well- equipped police system in the Swat Valley that can resist intimidation and overcome violence on the street. When the Taliban extended their writ in the Swat region few months back, the police force completely collapsed and put up no resistance. One sympathizes with the ill- prepared and ill-equipped policeman confronting the relatively well- equipped and adept Taliban fighters. There has already been an interest on the part of the U.S Government in reforming the Pakistani police system. However, the fall of the Swat to the Taliban and now its takeover by the Pakistan Army makes it urgent to have a strong regular police force in the valley to protect the return of militancy. The Army can launch military operations at anytime, but its police responsibility is to maintain law and order and do the routine patrolling in the streets and keep a vigilant eye on miscreants and militants. The Pakistani Government has decided to increase the number of police stations and police forces in Swat in order to fulfill the requirements of the people. The United States can assist in these efforts. Compensation: The United States should help the Pakistani Government and local NGOs to give a compensation package to the victims of military operations. The packages should include enough money to reconstruct damaged homes, restart businesses, and meet the living requirements for a meaningful period of time as former IDPs get back on their feet. It should be much larger than the current amount of $312 for a family that can range in size from 4 to 8 and sometimes 10 members. Since Pakistani Government officials have a trust problem due to the widespread accusations of corruption even in this humanitarian crisis, I suggest that it would be useful to involve local NGOs in Swat and the Malakand region to help conduct loss assessments and then involve local community leaders for the distribution of financial and other aid and rehabilitation support. Schools, Hospitals, Roads: Most people are aware that the United States has been using drones and missiles in the tribal region to target and attack militant hideouts. The attacks also incur collateral damage--loss of lives and injuries to innocent civilians including women and children. As a part of the rehabilitation of the IDPs, the United States should help rebuild schools and hospitals destroyed by the Taliban militants. This will be a great help to the people of war- hit areas of Swat and other parts of the tribal region. The United States should also help the Pakistani Government rebuild the destroyed buildings from the Swat conflict on an accelerated basis. Microfinance/Banking: With the help of the Pakistani Government and NGOs, the United States can also help launch microfinance banking facilities for the people of Swat and FATA to create sustainable livelihood opportunities, including support farmers, small industries and skill development programs for men and women. Local NGOs can be involved in the interest-free loans for launching small businesses. Local Pashtun Media: Establishing, promoting and encouraging local Pashtun media is needed at this time. In the absence of a strong local Pashtun media, people of Swat and FATA have become ``captive audience'' to the Taliban-pirated FM radio stations. Fazlullah's FM radio station, which earned him the nickname ``FM Mullah,'' contributed to the fall of Swat into the hands of the Taliban. A local independent Pashtun media is necessary to provide alternative radio stations and content that people will want to listen to. This will also help improve the U.S image in the long run by engaging Pashtuns in the political discourse. A Pashtun media would ultimately support Pashtun nationalism, which is one way to help combat Taliban militancy. I would argue that a Pashtun social movement is needed to raise the voices for their identity, culture, and heritage--which are the antithesis of the Taliban. Cultural/Sports: This area has long been ignored by the successive Pakistani regimes as well as international donors. There is a lack of sports and cultural facilities for the youth of tribal region and many parts of NWFP. But this is one of the potential area in which a long- term investment can stop the drift of young people to extremism. The revival of secular Pashtuns culture and traditions is must for stopping the march of Taliban in the border region. CONCLUSION In conclusion, I salute the IDPs and the rest of the Pakistani people, particularly the Pashtuns of Mardan and Swabi for their sacrifices in helping the IDPs. I must say that the future of the war against terrorism in Pakistan now depends more profoundly than anyone expected on how well the situation of IDPs is addressed. If properly treated, these Pashtuns can be a bulwark against Taliban militants, irrespective of their ethnic background. The Pashtuns have long been accused as the supporters and sympathizers of Taliban and al-Qaeda militants. However, because of the IDP crisis that position has changed and now they should be regarded as the bulwark against militants. I wish and pray that all the people of Swat, Buner, and other parts of the tribal region will return to their homes and once again start living a peaceful life in their valley once known as Switzerland of Pakistan. Being a Pashtun myself, I would like to believe that one day these IDPs will say that during their most difficult times, not only the whole of Pakistan but the world, stood with them. Senator Casey. Mr. Ali, thank you very much. We have to take a break to vote, and we'll resume in a few minutes. I do want to thank our ranking member, Senator Risch, for being here. We both have to vote now. We'll come back, and I'll have at least three questions, and then we'll be able to wrap up. So, if anyone needs a break, this is the time to take it. Thank you. [Recess.] Senator Casey. OK, thank you very much. We'll resume. And thank you for allowing me to vote. Pretty important thing to do around here. We're grateful for both of our witnesses and for your statements. And, of course, your full statements will be in the record of this hearing. I wanted to focus, Ambassador Chamberlin and Mr. Ali on the question of the possible scenario that was outlined by Rebecca Winthrop, of the Brookings Institution. Her assessment, which is an assessment which is counterintuitive--but, she asserts, in her recent piece, that the scale and magnitude of the current IDP crisis in Pakistan could present an unexpected opportunity to improve the lives of woman and children in Pakistan. She cited the lessons of humanitarian crises in other places, like Darfur and Afghanistan. And the essence of her argument is this. The disruption of established family and community structures that occurs during a mass displacement allows women to assume new roles and freedoms. The IDP camps may facilitate greater access to schooling. A, What do you think of that analysis? And b, Could you provide your perspective, not just on that theory or that analysis, but how would you recommend structuring U.S. and international assistance to the IDP population in a manner that enhances the role of women and enhances the protections provided to children? I know it's not an easy question, but---- Ambassador Chamberlin. No, no, it's--I'm happy to have it. It's an exciting question. I both disagree and agree with what she's saying. My experience--3 years' experience with UNHCR and close- hand experience with a number of refugee situations in the world, I tend to agree with her overarching theory, and perhaps even for other situations within Pakistan, but not this one. As I said earlier, Swat Valley and the Malakand district, but Swat particularly, is an exceptional little pocket in Pakistan, where you had higher education, some of the highest literacy, some of the highest literacy for women, already, there. You had a thriving middle class--larger, more productive than in other places of Pakistan. And you had infrastructure, you had girls' schools. One of the reasons, of course, why the Taliban attacked girls' schools in this area--over 300, I think, was the statistic--is because they--these extremists tend to get a lot of money from external donors for the madrassas. So, if they discourage the public schools and the girls' schools by blowing them up, you're going to funnel more students into the madrassas. And I heard a statistic from one very prominent Pakistan economist, who said that it can be as high as $10,000 per student in the madrassas, donations coming in from the gulf. So, that's not going to stop just because people are no longer in the area where they had schools and are now in camps where they don't have schools. I believe that the opportunities that present themselves by this disruption will be if you actually begin to reform some of the institutions in the area that the Taliban had truly exploited to win the allegiance of the peasants. Land reform, I mentioned in my statement, is one of them. But, if nothing is done to reform some of the institutions that the Taliban are exploiting, if all of this is nothing more than the defense of the status quo, then people will return to the same situations, the Taliban will return to the same situation, and we will have a long-term problem. But, in terms of women's schooling, it was better before. Senator Casey. Mr. Ali. Mr. Ali. I agree with the Ambassador. First of all, Swat had some of the best schools in the Frontier Province. In terms of the IDPs' situation and providing schooling to the girls, I visited a couple of the IDP camps, and there was some schooling system for girls. But, the problem is, as I mentioned before, less than 20 percent of the IDPs are living in the camps. So, you can provide schooling to those who are living in the camps, with the help of UNHCR or some other donors. But what to do with the other IDPs who are living with the host families? There is no school system for them. And that is a big challenge. Senator Casey. Thank you very much. I wanted to also ask you about--as we've heard this morning--the asserted policy of the Pakistani Government to support a quote ``voluntary, safe, and dignified returns.'' But, in the North West Frontier Province, the provincial government, in conjunction with the United Nations, illustrated their commitment to supporting voluntary returns with the signing of a Returns Policy Framework. However, the reality on the ground doesn't necessarily reflect that policy. NGO groups on the ground have reported people being denied assistance in the camps, and have been told they will not be eligible for further assistance unless they return home. I'd ask both of you about whether or not--and I'm assuming the answer is ``Yes''--but, whether or not our government should be concerned that the Pakistani Government will not guarantee the voluntary, safe, and dignified return of displaced people, and how our government can best encourage the Pakistani Government to give meaning to that asserted policy. Ambassador, do you have a sense of that, or do you have an opinion on that? Ambassador Chamberlin. Yes, thank you for the question. I think there are a number of things that the United States can do in partnership with the Pakistan Government. You know, I don't think that we're in disagreement with the Pakistan Government on this. I think the Pakistan Government would also like to see the people return as quickly as possible so that the problem not fester. The Pakistan Government and the United States would--knows that they must return in security. The question is, How do you provide that security? The ideas are there. I mentioned, in my opening statement, the idea is to augment the police force, recruit retired army sergeants, increase the salary--they're all there. The idea of posting a permanent cantonment of Pakistani Army--it's there. The money is not. The training for the police is not. The money for the salary is not there. These are things that we can do, with the Pakistan security forces, to assure security for the people. It's actually past due, because people are going home to less-than-secure areas, as I said in my statement. The idea of a cleared zone may not be the same thing as a safe zone. But, that doesn't mean that we shouldn't ramp up now, appeal to the Congress for perhaps some more money, both for the midterm for security and for the long-term reconstruction. Senator Casey. Let me have Mr. Ali respond. Mr. Ali. Well, in terms of the distribution of aid, you first mentioned it. For example, when I went to the IDP camps with Ambassador Holbrooke, there were concerns about aid distribution. This is a huge crisis and there will be this element of corruption and these things. But, I think the crisis is so huge. Still, the United States and the international community should come forward to help the Pakistani Government. There are two ways to provide aid. One is through the government agencies, and the other is through the NGOs. There will be this element, again and again, of corruption. You cannot eliminate that element. But, one way is to work with the Pakistani Government to help establish its legitimacy and its writ. It is a matter of writ why the United States is helping, why this whole issue is now before us. It is because the Pakistani Government lost its state in Swat Valley. And that is why now the Pakistani government is trying to reestablish its writ. And the other way to provide aid is to work with the local NGOs. There will be concerns. But, still we have to deal with this problem, because this is a huge problem. As I mentioned, it will decide the future of the war on terror in Pakistan. Senator Casey. I guess, just as a followup to that, is this a question of whether or not the government's going to be committed to that kind of safe return? Is this a lack of commitment by the Pakistani Government when that happens, or is it a lack of both commitment and the resources that the Ambassador mentioned? Do you have any sense of that? Ambassador Chamberlin. Yes. I think it's a little bit of both, sir. The community policing throughout Pakistan has been, by anybody's judgment, miserably weak. So has the court system; the judicial system's judges have been very, very weak as you go further into the countryside. You have your elite police corps in Lahore. You have the tollway police, that are first- rate. But, community policing throughout rural Pakistan, almost not there at all. It's an institution that, nationally, must be strengthened as one of the important components to a rule of--a system that's based on rule of law. The other component, of course, is courts and judges, also extremely weak. These two weaknesses have been exploited by the militants, who can go into rural areas and say, ``Look, you don't have a government, you don't have access to courts or judges for your land disputes or for whatever disputes. We will provide shariah law, our law, our version of shariah law, for fast, swift judgments.'' And in a vacuum, it's preferable. And in a vacuum, people prefer, sometimes, a harsh policing, provided by the Taliban, to nothing at all. So, in many ways, it's not reestablishing policing or reestablishing of court systems, it's establishing it in the first place. And this could be true in many places in Pakistan. It's going to require enormous investment. I've argued, since I was there as Ambassador in 2001, that that ought to be an American priority. We don't have an institution in the United States that does police training, frankly. AID ought to, in my opinion, but, for a number of reasons since the 1970s, has been prohibited from doing police training. It's not well located in the Pentagon. Secretary Gates agrees with that, although the Pentagon did do a great deal of it during Iraq and Afghanistan. And, of course, the State Department does diplomacy. So, I think we ought to think about how we can structure ourselves to support police training and police aid in a country where it needs it so badly. And I would suggest--my own personal view is that we build up that capacity within USAID. Mr. Ali. Senator, let me reinforce the point Ambassador Chamberlin raised about the policing. It is critically important. I think what happened in Swat Valley is just a snapshot of the whole of Pakistan. It can happen anywhere, because the police system is not well trained. It is not trained for that purpose. It is supposed to be the first line of defense against militants, miscreants but it is not used for that purpose. It is highly politicized. The only purpose of the police system in Pakistan is when the politicians and ministers use it for their political vested interests. So, it is not being used for the purpose we are talking about here. I think we need to inject some new thinking into the Pakistan police system, reform it, and make it a better line of defense against the militants. And Swat Valley can be the first place where one can have this role model. Senator Casey. I wanted to ask you a question about the role played by the Pakistani military in this refugee crisis. The very real potential for failing to allow local and provincial entities to hold up their end of the bargain, so to speak, to be as helpful as they can be to organize relief efforts, Do you buy that theory, that if the military gets too involved, they don't allow other entities within Pakistan to fulfill their responsibilities or to take over the work that the military obviously plays a role in but can't carry on its own, in addition to the fact that if the military is spending a disproportionate amount of time on relief efforts, it will be less and less effective on the battlefield? What's your sense of that? Ambassador Chamberlin. Mr. Senator, I find the current situation in Swat to be very different from our recent experience with the earthquake emergency, which was also run very effectively by the military. But that was a natural disaster, this is a security situation, and the military has a role, but its role is security. We've just had an exchange. I think both of us, all of us, agree that much more can be done to provide security, and ought to be done; that there is a challenge to the military to step up even more to provide security, to stay and provide security for the people who are returning. But, yes, I think that--I believe that if we simply--if we don't use this crisis to actually build the kind of infrastructures that the Taliban are exploiting with the peasantry there, then we're actually deeper in the hole, and that, yes, local government infrastructures ought to be built, capacities ought to be raised. But, I also believe that the United States ought to have a face in it. We ought to be visible. Senator Casey. Mr. Ali. Mr. Ali. Again, it is a security problem and the military will be there. For example, when the IDPs are returning, they will need security on the way back to their homes. There will be convoys of the army or the paramilitary that should accompany them back to Swat Valley. However, as far as their involvement in the relief and distribution of aid is concerned, what I saw in the IDP camps was them just holding security. I mean, they were responsible for the security of those refugees in the IDP camps, for example, where the VIP people were visiting. So, they were there for that purpose. The civilian administration is there. They are actually in charge of the refugee camps. For example, if you are going to an IDP camp, you have to make a call to someone in charge of the IDP camp who most probably will be a civil servant. Senator Casey. Well, thank you very much. I know we have to wrap up sooner than we might have thought. I know you both have very busy schedules. We're grateful for your presence here, and your testimony and your commitment on educating those of us on Capitol Hill about these issues, and especially appreciate the time you gave us when we had to go and vote. So, on behalf of Senator Risch, our ranking member, who's with us today, as well as members of our subcommittee, thank you very much. Mr. Ali. You're welcome. Ambassador Chamberlin. Thank you. Senator Casey. We're adjourned. [Whereupon, at 12:07 p.m., the hearing was adjourned.]