A divided house: Qissa Khwani traders bicker over compensation payments

Two groups blame each other for financial irregularities, favouritism.


Our Correspondent May 07, 2014
Qissa Khwani bazar blast site September 29, 2013. PHOTO: MUHAMMAD IQBAL

PESHAWAR:


Traders at Qissa Khwani Bazaar are bitterly divided over the issue of compensation payments to victims of September 2013’s bomb blast at the bustling city centre. At least 40 people were killed while around 100 others sustained injuries when a remote-controlled car bomb ripped through the crowded area, destroying 44 shops in its wake on September 29, 2013.


On Wednesday, Qissa Khwani Traders Association President Haji Halim Jan, along with other leaders, addressed a news conference at the Peshawar Press Club (PPC) and thanked the government for releasing Rs28.8 million to compensate the traders’ losses. Jan said that of the total amount, around Rs14.4 million was issued through cross cheques by the Peshawar deputy commissioner while the remaining amount was covered by the Small and Medium Enterprises Development Authority (SMEDA).

However, Jan demanded an enquiry into earlier compensations made through the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KPCCI) and said the disbursements need to be investigated. The amount distributed through KPCCI amounts to about Rs4.5 million.

Jan said some elements have set up a protest camp following the transparent distribution of compensation among Qissa Khawni traders, trying to show that the process was not fair.

He said not a single affected person is protesting against the distribution, maintaining unrelated people were sitting in the protest camp. A rally will be taken out on Thursday (today) afternoon as a sign of strength, Jan informed.

The group of protesters camped at the historic bazaar accuse Jan of ignoring those affected by the blast and instead providing compensation to his cronies.

The group, led by Sheikh Razaq, began protesting on Sunday for the rights of the deserving traders.

On Wednesday, Razaq too addressed a news conference at PPC and claimed Jan ignored deserving people in the process of doling out compensation sums.

Razaq said they have been protesting for the past seven days but no government functionary bothered to ask them why they were out on the roads. He demanded the provincial government to take notice of the issue and investigate the distribution of the money.

Warning to block GT Road if their demands go unmet, Razaq said they will also stage a sit-in outside Parliament in Islamabad if they have to.

However, one trader said the issue was not so much about financial irregularities but a war of egos between Jan and Razaq as both were not ready to sit down and discuss their problems.

Published in The Express Tribune, May 8th, 2014.

COMMENTS (1)

MAD | 7 years ago | Reply

Now dont go blaming the govt for this. This is the traders association fighting over funds and basically internal politics of the association spilling out.

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