PESHAWAR: For the rehabilitation of non-Muslim victims of terrorism in the province, the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government will set up an endowment fund with an initial capital of Rs200 million.
On Friday, the provincial assembly passed the Endowment Fund Bill, 2020 of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Rehabilitation of Minorities (Victims of Terrorism), with four amendments for the purpose.
The sitting, which was later adjourned for an indefinite time, was headed by Speaker Mushtaq Ahmad Ghani.
In addition to the Muslim majority, religious minority members, especially Christians and Sikhs, have also been targeted in the province by terrorists.
Opposition members complain about slow work on uplift projects, diversion of funds
As two suicide bombings swept through the main prayer hall of All Saints Church in Peshawar in Sept 2013, ninety Christians were killed and 144 wounded. Many Christians in a colony on Warsak Road in Peshawar were killed by another terrorist attack.
Similarly, there have been accounts of deliberate killings of Sikhs in Peshawar, members of the Kalash tribe in the Chitral district, and non-Muslims in other parts of the province.
Wazirzada, special assistant to the chief minister on minority affairs, moved a motion in the assembly demanding the passage of the bill.
He introduced four changes by a member of the Kalash group, which were made part of the bill.
The chief minister’s assistant told Dawn that the government must prioritise the recovery of the families of those who had lost their lives in the bombing of the All Saints Church.
He said six of the bomb blast victims have been dealing with lifelong physical injuries ever since.
Mr. Wazirzada said the targeted murder victims’ families would now be included in the recovery programme.
The new legislation says the government will set up the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Endowment Fund immediately after the passage of the law to rehabilitate, establish and reward victims of terrorist attacks.
Grants from the federal government, philanthropists, NGOs, other groups working for the benefit of religious minorities and other lawful outlets may also be credited to the proposed fund.
In order to serve the intent of the legislation, the government will form the Endowment Fund Appraisal Committee.
The Minister, advisor or special assistant to the Chief Minister for Minorities shall convene a seven-member committee to collect and review applications, to determine entitlements, to check the representatives of the family of terrorist victims and to authorise the amount specified for technical assistance, relief, welfare, reimbursement or recovery of persons impacted by terrorist actions.
The shortage of medical oxygen required at the King Abdullah Teaching Hospital, Mansehra, also echoed in the assembly with lawmakers urging the government to take urgent corrective steps.
MPA Humaira Khatoon said Kath had no oxygen supply at the point of order, so the intensive care unit referred patients to the Abbottabad Medical Complex.
She said the management of the hospital had recognised oxygen unavailability and said there was a project in the pipeline for the purpose.
The lawmaker said there were no ventilators at the Mansehra hospital yet, and thus the government should take urgent measures to avoid mishap.
After an earthquake struck Hazara and Azad Jammu and Kashmir in Oct 2005, the Saudi government awarded a grant to the King Abdullah Teaching Hospital, killing thousands of people and destroying homes, including Kath’s.
Later, with the support of the Saudi government, a new hospital was established.
Mansehra district PTI MPA Babar Saleem Swati said the Saudi government would provide Rs720 million for the procurement of hospital equipment and a contract was awarded for this reason to a Turkish firm.
He said that within a month, the ICU device would become available.
Opposition members voiced concerns about sluggish work on development schemes and the diversion of development funds, in particular on roads in the tribal districts of North and South Waziristan.
They said the appropriate agency had, for whatever reasons, disclosed the non-release of funds.
A lawmaker said funds for the development of two roads in North Waziristan had been redirected to beautification schemes.
On the one hand, he said the government had begun to allot over Rs100 billion for development schemes in the combined tribal districts, but on the other hand, Rs180 million for a small road was not available.