The price of terrorism

26 individuals injured in All Saints Church attack or are related to victims have not received monetary compensation

Editorial March 11, 2016
All Saints Church in Peshawar. PHOTO: MUHAMMAD IQBAL/EXPRESS

The harm caused by terrorism is most frequently measured by the number of lives lost, the number of people injured and the amount of damage to property caused in a particular attack. After an incident, benevolent tendencies take over and compensation packages are announced for those who have lost loved ones or become unable to work as a result of their injuries. However, the news cycle soon rolls on and there is little follow-up on these promises to see if they have actually been fulfilled. The deadliest of attacks soon pass out of collective conscious, not because of callousness or short attention spans but because the sheer number of victims turns them into faceless statistics that are no longer viewed as individuals with shattered lives. Once in a while, when cases are followed up it is revealed that the lives of those affected have never recovered their previous normalcy. Health, careers and relationships all suffer and this suffering is only compounded when promises of compensation remain unmet, sometimes years after the fact.

It has come to light that around 26 individuals who were either injured in the All Saints Church attack of 2013 or are related to the victims have not received monetary compensation. Both the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) and Sindh governments had promised relief funds, but these individuals are still waiting for their cheques to arrive despite numerous requests. Allegations of misappropriation have been denied both by the church and government, which claim that funds were distributed based on hospital records. It has further been claimed that some individuals abused the system by receiving relief funds falsely or more than once. It is evident that there is a breakdown in communication, which has caused delays and opportunities for fraudulent claims. If the government is truly committed to helping the victims of terrorism, the system of funds distribution needs to be streamlined and made more efficient. It must be the responsibility of authorities to ensure timely distribution of funds to deserving individuals rather than adding the burden of lodging repeated claims to their already battered lives. 

Published in The Express Tribune, March 12th, 2016.

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