92775    1/17/2007 11:03    07ISLAMABAD268    Embassy Islamabad    CONFIDENTIAL    06ISLAMABAD16944    "VZCZCXRO9933 OO RUEHCI DE RUEHIL #0268 0171103 ZNY CCCCC ZZH O 171103Z JAN 07 FM AMEMBASSY ISLAMABAD TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 6210 INFO RUEHTA/AMEMBASSY ALMATY PRIORITY 9797 RUEHAH/AMEMBASSY ASHGABAT PRIORITY 1723 RUEHEK/AMEMBASSY BISHKEK PRIORITY 3981 RUEHLM/AMEMBASSY COLOMBO PRIORITY 1115 RUEHKA/AMEMBASSY DHAKA PRIORITY 1886 RUEHDBU/AMEMBASSY DUSHANBE PRIORITY RUEHBUL/AMEMBASSY KABUL PRIORITY 6683 RUEHKT/AMEMBASSY KATHMANDU PRIORITY 7624 RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON PRIORITY 4950 RUEHNE/AMEMBASSY NEW DELHI PRIORITY 0082 RUEHNT/AMEMBASSY TASHKENT PRIORITY 2442 RUEHCI/AMCONSUL CALCUTTA PRIORITY 0884 RUEHCG/AMCONSUL CHENNAI PRIORITY 3230 RUEHKP/AMCONSUL KARACHI PRIORITY 4193 RUEHLH/AMCONSUL LAHORE PRIORITY 1112 RUEHBI/AMCONSUL MUMBAI PRIORITY 3604 RUEHPW/AMCONSUL PESHAWAR PRIORITY 9392 RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC PRIORITY"    "C O N F I D E N T I A L ISLAMABAD 000268

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 01/16/2017 TAGS: PGOV, PREF, SOCI, PK SUBJECT: GOVERNMENT HINDERS ACCESS TO INTERNALLY DISPLACED IN BALOCHISTAN

REF: 06 ISLAMABAD 16944

Classified By: Ambassador Ryan C. Crocker, Reasons 1.4 (b), (d)

1. (C) Summary: In spite of a mid-December intervention from Ambassador Crocker to senior Pakistani officials, UNICEF reports it is still unable to assist internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Balochistan. End summary.

2. (U) On December 21, the Christian Science Monitor reported that UNICEF had faced ""endless bureaucratic hurdles"" and outright refusals from both provincial and federal officials to deliver assistance to people who have been displaced by the escalating violence in Balochistan. In an assessment conducted in July/August 2006, UNICEF found that 59,000 of an estimated 80,000 displaced were women and children, and that 28 percent of children under five were acutely malnourished.

3. (U) Pakistani government officials have since denied UNICEF's accusation, but offered contradictory explanations. A military spokesman claimed that IDPs displaced by military operations in Dera Bugti and Kohlu returned home in September (after the killing of Baloch leader Nawab Akbar Khan Bugti in August 2006, reftel). UNICEF countered that, while some IDPs returned in September, still others have since been displaced. Some Balochistan provincial government officials claimed that the IDPs have been displaced by an ongoing drought, not by military operations in the province. In response, the opposition leader of the Balochistan National Assembly accused the provincial government of misleading the international community about military operations in Dera Bugti and Kohlu by conflating the problems of drought-affected IDPs with those dispaced by the government's ""oppression.""

4. (C) In mid-December 2006, shortly after a quiet intervention by Ambassador Crocker to senior Pakistani officials close to President Musharraf, federal officials in Islamabad instructed provincial officials to facilitate UN aid distribution. A UNICEF official told poloff, however, that they still have not been allowed to conduct their final assessment to determine placement of feeding stations for malnourished children (approximately a three-week process). On January 11, the UNICEF official said, provincial health officials informed UNICEF that the province would conduct its own assessment of where feeding stations should be placed, which will likely slow down assistance even more.

5. (C) Comment: While it may not be official Government of Pakistan policy to bar aid, reports that the Pakistan Army has denied NGO access to IDPs and has attempted to cloak the problem by hiding IDPs from aid workers are credible, as are reports that intelligence agencies have prevented villagers living around the IDPs from providing assistance. The government's ongoing military campaign against violent Baloch separatists, which has also included widespread arrests and numerous disappearances throughout the province, is increasing the alienation of a population that has never been inclined to trust Islamabad. Easing the way for humanitarian agencies to help vulnerable and displaced civilians should be an obvious step toward reconciliation between the center and the Baloch people.

6. (C) Comment, continued: Post will continue to monitor and urge access and cooperation between provincial authorities and humanitarian assistance organizations. End Comment. CROCKER "?