Of an estimated 45 million displaced persons worldwide, some two-thirds are "Internally Displaced Persons" (IDPs) - those who have been forced to flee their homes in order to avoid the ramifications of large-scale violence, armed conflict, natural/man-made disasters or violations of human rights, and who have not crossed an internationally recognized State border; and the rest are "Refugees" - the people affected as such, but who in the process of displacement do cross an International border. However, the on-going military operation, code-named "Operation Rah-e-Rast", against the militants in the restive northern areas of Pakistan has augmented the number of IDPs by a staggering 3 million, according to some estimates. There is no doubt that the primary duty of providing relief and rehabilitation to the IDPs of Malakand operation lie with the governments of NWFP and Pakistan, which have, despite their utmost efforts, not been able to come up to the expectations; but a lot more was expected of the international community individually as well as through collective organs like United Nations. The prime reason for this lethargic attitude on part of the world community is partly due to the absence of any binding International legal instrument that delineates the rights of IDPs and the concomitant obligations of signatory states, unlike in the case of refugees, who are addressed by a number of International laws and treaties. The main reasons for the absence of any such International treaty are the overriding concerns about sovereignty and non-interference in the internal affairs of states. In order to circumvent these concerns and to ensure greater international acceptance, the United Nation General Assembly's has adopted a set of non-binding "Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement", which are basically based upon various bodies of law, principally national law, various International Human Rights Law (IHRL) and, in case of an armed conflict, International Humanitarian Law (IHL). These principles are to serve as a touchstone to guide respective governments as well as international humanitarian and development agencies in providing protection as well as assistance to these IDPs. The Guiding Principles divide the rights of IDPs and the corresponding responsibilities of the concerned authorities in to three stages, i.e., before displacement, during displacement and after displacement. This article evaluates the extent of the government's observance to these principles during the on-going relief efforts for the IDPs of Malakand. The first and foremost guiding principle for any state before such displacement occurs is that it should try all other feasible alternatives in order to avoid displacement; and where no alternative exist, or all have been exhausted, the authorities should be proactive, rather than being reactive in minimizing displacement and its adverse effects. Once the displacement has occurred, the Guiding Principles enjoin that the IDPs shall enjoy same rights and freedoms under international and domestic law as other people in the country do. These rights, inter alia, include the right to life, the right to dignity, right to liberty and security of person, protection against arbitrary arrest or detention, the right to liberty of movement, and the right to an adequate standard of living. Needless to say that some of these rights have been trampled upon by the respective governments with impunity. First, the right to protection against arbitrary arrest or detention entails that the IDPs shall not be interned in or confined to a camp, and if in exceptional circumstances such internment or confinement is absolutely necessary, it shall not last longer than required by the circumstances. First, the Malakand IDPs are, quite contrary to their established right to protection against arbitrary arrest or detention, being forced to live in camps, else neither would they be registered nor they be provided essential day-to-day necessities along with the compensation amount of Rs 25,000 per family announced by the Government. Second, the reported restrictions on the entry of these IDPs into some provinces on the plea that they would alter the ethnic dimensions of the province, or that some suspected militants might enter in the cloak of IDPs are in blatant violation of the inherent right of IDPs to freely move about and reside anywhere with in Pakistan. To start with, people raising much hue and cry about the exodus of a large number Pakhtoons into Sindh must remember that they themselves were once welcomed by the Province of Sindh after their migration into Pakistan in 1947 without any distinction whatsoever on the basis of ethnicity. In short, the government and people of Pakistan have managed the relief stage by hook or by crook, without much human loss, albeit with a lot of human sufferings, in the ranks of the IDPs. As elaborated, much was expected on part of the international community, but the only help came from within, whether from the government or non-governmental entities. Although, much more could have been done to minimize the plight of our brethren in the Malakand division, but we, as Pakistanis must be grateful to the Almighty for giving us strength as well as the courage to the deal with a colossal tragedy with characteristic equanimity and tenacity of purpose. The writer is a Research Fellow at Research Society of International Law, Lahore E-mail: naumanqaiser@gmail.com