No respite: The line never ends for Bajaur’s residents

Women forced to travel to Timergara to be issued BISP cards

Our Correspondent May 10, 2015

KHAR: Residents of Bajaur Agency find themselves in a predicament over Benazir Income Support Programme (BISP) cards. It’s not just the long lines but also the long road to get their promised income support.

Insiders familiar with the matter told The Express Tribune the cards are only being issued to the agency’s residents at BISP’s district office in Timergara, Lower Dir. As a result, women from the agency have been forced to travel quite a distance to claim the funds.

“Many women spend Rs200 on travel expenses just to reach Timergara,” a resident of Bajaur Agency told The Express Tribune.

However, their problems do not end there as there is only one counter at the district office which is functional. “This has created more problems for us,” said the resident. “The women who manage to pay the travel fare have to stand in long queues. By the end of the day, some of them have no option but to
turn back.”

A crisis no less

As the lines at the BISP office stretch as far as the eye can see, some residents have voiced concerns about the absence of facilities at the counter.

“There are no facilities for women who have to wait in line,” he said. “There are no provisions for them to drink water and there is no shed to protect them from the sun.”

Bajaur residents have repeatedly raised the matter with the relevant authorities.

Taking stock

Speaking to journalists earlier this week, Pakistan Peoples Party leader in Bajaur Aurangzeb Inqilabi also urged BISP officials to speed up the process of issuing cards to residents of Bajaur Agency.

“Women from the agency have to leave their homes and travel to Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa,” he said. “Something must be done to iron out the rough edges in the issuance process.” According to Inqilabi, the BISP office in Timergara issues 50 cards on a daily basis and women have to make countless trips from Bajaur for this purpose.

“On the other hand, the office in Islamabad issues at least 100 cards every day,” he said. “These discrepancies should be addressed on a priority-basis.”

The PPP leader has pressed the officials to begin issuing cards to women in Bajaur Agency to prevent them from being inconvenienced.

“If this goal cannot be achieved in the near future, BISP should try to provide facilities to people standing in line at the centre in Timergara,” he added.

Inqilabi drew attention to the fact that a large number of BISP cards have yet to be issued as offices in Samar Bagh and Chakdara have remained closed for many months.

“If the process continues in this manner, women will have to wait for several months to be issued their cards,” he added.

Published in The Express Tribune, May 11th, 2015.


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