SWAT: Benazir Income Support Programme (BISP) beneficiaries in Swat staged a protest against post office officials for withholding their monthly instalments despite the allocation of funds and appealed to the government to initiate an inquiry.
Assembled outside the post office, they chanted slogans against officials of the Saidu Sharif Post Office. Expressing their distrust of officials responsible for disbursing the money, protesters demanded another system in lieu of cash grants to ensure transparency.
“This is my tenth trip to the post office for the BISP instalment. The money has already been disbursed by the organisation, but every time, officials refuse to give it to me, saying I should come the next day,” said Gul Malik, waving a printout of his details. “If the government has allocated the money, post office officials should pay up.”
The money for beneficiaries of Banjot is delivered through money order in Manglawar. But according to the protesters, some officials from the post office draw their instalments by forging signatures and using fake stamps in connivance with influential persons.
“They collect photocopies of our identity cards and other details and ask us to come the next day for the money. The next day, they bluntly refuse to give us the money when we come for it, he added. This is the third time they have turned us away without giving us the money.”
“There is an influential man, a dispenser by profession, who says he has paid for the BISP scheme for this village by giving the post office Rs350,000 and it is now for him to decide if he would like to distribute the money to beneficiaries,” Taj Muhammad, a resident of Malalo Banjot, told The Express Tribune.
The protesters demanded post office officials to explain how a private person could be responsible for disbursing the money.
Gul Rehman, who belongs to Banjot, also said that when he went to Manglawar for his monthly instalment, the concerned official refused to pay the money.
When this reporter contacted the Saidu Sharif Post Office for their version, Muhammad Hanif, a senior postmaster said they have initiated an inquiry and informed the divisional office. He gave the assurance that all the complaints would be addressed by Monday.
Published in The Express Tribune, March 24th, 2012.