Abbas Town rehabilitation

In Pakistan, the government should have a reserve rehabilitation fund to compensate all citizens.

Editorial March 09, 2013
Residents gather in front of a damaged building after a bomb blast in a residential area, a day earlier, in Karachi March 4, 2013. PHOTO: REUTERS

President Asif Ali Zardari recently ordered Sindh Chief Minister Qaim Ali Shah to initiate plans to arrange apartments for the March 3 Abbas Town bombing victims.

He prioritised families with deceased members over families who have injured members. In a country like Pakistan, which has seen hundreds of such events on minor and grand scales, our government should now have a large emergency rehabilitation reserve fund to potentially compensate all citizens because of its inability to protect them from bombings and targeted killings.

Whether the unfortunate victims of the Abbas Town bombings experienced death in the family or not, all residents belonging to the two buildings, as well as surrounding areas and shopkeepers, should receive compensation to, once again, jump-start their households and careers.

The NUST student whose laptop was stolen while the family was at the hospital receiving treatment for injuries should be compensated with a new laptop, as she had diligently saved up her money for a long time to buy one. And there are many other examples like this.

Preference cannot merely be given to the deceased. Every resident needs shelter as everyone was affected.

The government failed to provide anyone with security before and after the blasts. Hours after the blasts, looters sought opportunity and left families with a further loss of valuables such as jewellery and cash that could have provided the families with some sense of minor security as they searched for new shelters upon return.

What is needed is sustainable cash compensation, perhaps, in periodic instalments after an initial rehabilitation allotment, along with rehabilitation initiatives to establish work for those whose shops were destroyed.

Unfortunately, residents will be unable to return to the buildings at all as the buildings were already old and battered prior to the blasts. What the residents deserve is a modern building with stronger foundations, compliments of those who were unable to protect them from the incident in the first place. And before they return to the area, it must be cleansed of terrorist elements.

Published in The Express Tribune, March 10th, 2013.


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