Govt plays coy when questioned about compensation to Shakeel Auj's family

Departments express ignorance and shift the blame


Niha Dagia November 05, 2017
Dr Shakil Auj. PHOTO: FACEBOOK

KARACHI: More than three years after the dean of the faculty of Islamic studies at Karachi University, Professor Dr Shakeel Auj was killed his family has allegedly been approached for a bribe for the release of compensation promised by the Sindh government.

“My brother, Muhammad Malhan Khan, received a call on November 1 for the issuance of the compensation cheque,” Hassan Auj told The Express Tribune. “When he visited the commissioner’s office he was asked for a bribe of Rs5,000 for a cheque of Rs200,000 instead of the promised Rs30 million.”

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The Sindh government’s incoherence dates back to 2014 when Hassan recalls learning about the compensation via the television before then Sindh governor Ishratul Ebad invited the family over to his official residence where he assured that they would be duly compensated and issued a notification to the office of the chief minister.

“We were never approached by CM House, but over time I wrote [multiple] letters to them, Governor House and the home minister but received no reply,” claimed Hassan, showing the receipts of the courier he used to send the correspondence. Hassan even tried contacting Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Chairperson Bilawal Bhutto Zardari through social media but received no response.

PHOTO: EXPRESS PHOTO: EXPRESS

The bereaved family, however, found a champion for their cause in Member National Assembly Syed Ali Raza Abidi of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) – Pakistan. Speaking to The Express Tribune, Abidi said the topic came up when Hassan was visiting the MNA’s restaurant in Clifton. “I called and informed PPP Senator Murtaza Wahab of the matter and he promised to look into it.”

Despite repeated attempts neither the commissioner nor Wahab could be reached for comments.

Responding to The Express Tribune’s query, Rashid Channa, spokesperson of the CM, said the issue was brought to their attention but no formal inquiry had been initiated yet. Passing the buck, he said that the CM would ask the home department for an update on Monday, despite the fact that the issue has been pending for over three years.

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Governor House representatives claimed to be oblivious about the compensation. Strangely, spokesperson Saleem Khan said the matter had been forwarded to and was awaiting response from the Higher Education Commission’s Sindh office.

However, Sindh’s Additional Higher Education Secretary Muhammad Junaid was adamant that “compensation did not fall under the jurisdiction of their department.” He claimed that the department was unaware of the matter until Friday.

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Last year, Pakistan's longest-serving chief minister, Qaim Ali Shah, and governor, Ebad, vacated their posts paving way for the spirited Murad Ali Shah who often assumes responsibilities of a mayor while overseeing projects in the city – and causing traffic jams with his vvip protocol, and Pakistan Muslim League – Nawaz [PML-N]’s effusive Zubair Ahmad.

While both the leaders remain socially engaged in the province – they are seemingly unaware of corruption and mismanagement within their government.

Lack of compensation is not an issue limited to the Auj family. Countless other families have been plagued by the government’s seemingly false promises of monetary reparation.

However, in 2012, the Sindh government gave Rs200,000 to the legal heirs of each of 700 victims of targeted killings that took place in Karachi.

 

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