Mutasirina (affectee) is the name of the first baby girl born at a camp set up in Bannu, where Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) are pouring in from North Waziristan since June 15. The first baby boy born there is named, Azb Khan, code-name of the military operation.
“This name will remind us and her later in life that she was born outside Waziristan when her family and her people were affectess,” said the father of Mutasiriana, holding the infant baby girl in his arms. UNICEF officials said that more than 200,000 children aged five and above have been vaccinated so far. As many as 60 polio cases have been reported from North Waziristan while the total number of reported polio cases in Pakistan is 88 in 2014.
Mutasirina might return to her land soon to lead a normal life if she survives homelessness, the sizzling heat and what they call the indefinite operation “Zarb-i-Azb”. But the ill-fated victims of the crippling polio virus, mainly from North Waziristan, will not be normal again. Kept away from the modern world, both by the State and its religious proxies, these children of the lesser god could not make to the headlines of the mainstream media. Their miseries are now unfolding under the burning sun in the plains of Bannu and the southern arid land of Pakhtunkhwa.
The climate of the North Waziristan is cold in winter and warm in summer, whereas June is generally the warmest month. The maximum and minimum temperatures during June are 31 and 18 degrees Celsius, respectively. Temperature in Bannu at the movement is 44 degrees and is likely to rise to 46 degrees Celsius over the weekend.
However, vaccination for polio is a blessing in disguise for tens of thousands of Mutasirinas and Azab Khans, even if they have been driven out of their homes by Pakistan Army to fight the friends-turned-foes militants on the border with Afghanistan. Taliban imposed ban on polio vaccination in North Waziristan, which they consider un-Islamic and conspiracy of the west.
UNICEF officials told VOA Deewa that almost 80 percent of the registered kids were below five years of age while 70 percent of them are 10 and above. “Most of the IDP children suffer from gastroenteritis, scabies, dehydration and nutrition deficiency, said Dr. Gohar, who is working as volunteer at the IDPs camp. Psychologists say that forced displacements severely damage the psyche of the uprooted people in general and children in particular.