A court gave the federal government six months to compensate 187 Baloch families, who were affected by an earthquake in the province on October 28, 2008.
While deciding on a petition filed by Saifur Rehman, Chief Justice Iqbal Hameedur Rehman of Islamabad High Court (IHC) also ordered the government to conduct a fresh survey with the help of local residents and revenue authorities to determine the financial losses of families in the earthquake.
The petitioner, through his counsel, Rafiq R Sanjrani, submitted before the court that that the authorities had deprived the affected people from financial aid package announced in October 2008.
He contended that 187 affected families from Khanozai village in Pishin District have not been paid a single penny out of the funds allocated for the affected people.
He said that the prime minister had announced Rs350,000 in financial aid for each affected family and the provincial disaster management authority (PDMA) had conducted an urgent survey of the area. Contrary to the government’s announcement, nothing was paid to them, he said.
Subsequently, the affected families protested against the discriminatory treatment of the authorities and the Balochistan chief minister said a fresh survey would be undertaken. However, nothing has been done so far, he added.
He claimed that following the earthquake, the government received over Rs2.62 billion in aid, out of which Rs2 billion has been distributed among the affected while the remaining amount is still with the government, which could easily be used to compensate the remaining victims.
On the other hand, Deputy Attorney General Tariq Mehmood Jahangiri on behalf of the federation submitted that the claim of affected families was fake because the government of Balochistan has compensated almost every affected family, while a few remaining cases are being processed.
He requested that the petition be dismissed on the basis of it being non-maintainable.
Chief Justice Rehman concluded by ordering compensation for the remaining 187 families in six weeks time in accordance with the policy after preparing fresh assessment reports for them.
Published in The Express Tribune, March 15th, 2012.