Tens of thousands of Pakistanis in the country's restive tribal areas have been displaced by fighting between the military and the Taliban and living in refugee camps, the largest one in Jalozai on the edge of Peshawar. With the landmark May election edging closer, candidates shuttle between refugee camps, putting up posters, holding corner meetings and jockeying for the votes of displaced people from their constituencies. The tribal areas, which until this election had barred political parties from operating, will be an important battleground in the upcoming polls. Watched over by wary soldiers manning checkpoints along newly tarred roads, entire families are staying in tents in the rubble of homes ruined by fighting and fierce weather, hoping that the election will be the first step towards a better Pakistan with more jobs, economic prosperity and a better life. - Photos and text by Reuters

Internally displaced man Sakhi jan Afridi, 30, who fled the military operations in Khyber Agency, waits for his turn in a barber shop decorated with election posters of contesting candidates at the UNHCR Jalozai camp.
Internally displaced man Sakhi jan Afridi, 30, who fled the military operations in Khyber Agency, waits for his turn in a barber shop decorated with election posters of contesting candidates at the UNHCR Jalozai camp.
Internally displaced man Majid Afridi, 60, who the fled military operations in Khyber Agency, hangs electoral posters of independent candidate Hamidullah Jan Afridi at the UNHCR Jalozai camp.
Internally displaced man Majid Afridi, 60, who the fled military operations in Khyber Agency, hangs electoral posters of independent candidate Hamidullah Jan Afridi at the UNHCR Jalozai camp.
Internally displaced girl Laiba, 1, whose family fled the military operations in Khyber Agency, sits outside her family tent while a Jamaat-e-Islami party flag flies in the background at the UNHCR Jalozai camp.
Internally displaced girl Laiba, 1, whose family fled the military operations in Khyber Agency, sits outside her family tent while a Jamaat-e-Islami party flag flies in the background at the UNHCR Jalozai camp.
Internally displaced man Jabbar, 18, sits beside an electoral poster of Jamat-e-Islam candidate Shah Faisal Afridi at the UNHCR Jalozai camp.
Internally displaced man Jabbar, 18, sits beside an electoral poster of Jamat-e-Islam candidate Shah Faisal Afridi at the UNHCR Jalozai camp.
Internally displaced people, whose family fled military operations in Khyber Agency, transport relief goods using wheelbarrows at the UNHCR Jalozai camp.
Internally displaced people, whose family fled military operations in Khyber Agency, transport relief goods using wheelbarrows at the UNHCR Jalozai camp.
Internally displaced people, who fled military operations in the Khyber Agency, sit beside a shop decorated with election posters of contesting candidates, at the UNHCR Jalozai camp.
Internally displaced people, who fled military operations in the Khyber Agency, sit beside a shop decorated with election posters of contesting candidates, at the UNHCR Jalozai camp.
Internally displaced people and supporters of Haji Iqbal Afridi, Pakistan's Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) candidate for the upcoming elections, prepares to set up a campaign office at the UNHCR Jalozai camp.
Internally displaced people and supporters of Haji Iqbal Afridi, Pakistan's Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) candidate for the upcoming elections, prepares to set up a campaign office at the UNHCR Jalozai camp.
An internally displaced girl Ayesha, 4, whose family fled the military operations in Khyber Agency, plays outside her family tent at the UNHCR Jalozai camp in Pakistan's northwest Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province.
An internally displaced girl Ayesha, 4, whose family fled the military operations in Khyber Agency, plays outside her family tent at the UNHCR Jalozai camp in Pakistan's northwest Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province.
Internally displaced boy Asif, 4, whose family fled the military operations in Khyber Agency, cools himself off at the UNHCR Jalozai camp.
Internally displaced boy Asif, 4, whose family fled the military operations in Khyber Agency, cools himself off at the UNHCR Jalozai camp.

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