LAHORE: In March 2016 Iqbal Park in Lahore was attacked on Easter evening resulting in the killing of over 80 people and leaving around 300 injured. The Punjab Government compensated the survivors and their families and the Sindh government also announced compensation for them in a show of solidarity. However the compensation did not reach everyone. Some affected received the amount sent by Chief Minister Sindh Murad Ali Shah through PPP leader Latif Khosa a few months back; however some are still waiting for this much wanted relief.

A letter with a list of people still awaiting the money promised by Sindh Government was recently shared on a social media platform page ‘Pakistan For All’ run by ShaanTaseer, son of the late Governor Punjab Salman Taseer. The letter addressed to CM Sindh reminds him of the promise made by the Sindh government. According to the letter only 18 people received the amount out of 54 and the remaining 36 are still waiting to be compensated. The list gives names, details of number of people effected and contact numbers.

When the Nation contacted PPP Central Information Secretary Ch Manzoor for comments he said, “The payments are pending since there are disputes amongst the families. More than one family claims to be heirs of the deceased and want the money. However, this is not the way to tackle the issue, so until they resolve their issues and decide who is the real heir we won’t be distributing the money, which are ready but are being held back.”

Aamir Isran the Deputy Secretary Finance of Sindh Governmentsaid, “I was there (in Lahore) when the amount was being distributed, however we have not received any report or record of those who have not received the amount. The list which I got was of 150 people and they were present there when we gave the amount. Whoever came to receive the amount they were given the cheques. We have their receipts also.”

A social activist Napolean Qayum in Lahore said, “Our Christian brothers and sisters need help. Sindh Government had promised them some amount but till now a number of families have not received it.”

Shabana Akhtar is a midwife and a mother of three children. She is victim of the Iqbal Park blast. She has two pellets embedded in her leg which will be operated on when doctors allow. Shabana was visiting the park with her two sisters-in-law and with their children and has not been able to work since due to her injuries.

“Mirab Akhtar my daughter was injured in the attack too, she has scored 1008 marks out of 1100 in Matriculation recently but she is very ill, and although pellets were removed from close to her large intestine she is getting weak day by day.” Shabana said.

Her sonwas also injured in the attack and is still suffering, as his bladder was damaged due to a pallet. “The doctor said my son is very weak so they can’t operate on him. I have to wait for 2 years so he gets healthy enough to undergo an operation,” she explained.

Shabana earned Rs12,000 as a wage earner. “I am not working and we cannot afford to meet the daily expenditure to live what to say for medications it’s very hard for us to survive.

“Punjab Government gave me and my son the amount, but my daughter has not received it.While PPP has not given us the announced money, even though some victims have received the money in Khosa house (local PPP leader house),” she said.

Regarding the hurdle in disbursement of the amount due to family disputes she said, “If there are issues between other families regarding the money why should we suffer? We hardly have money to make both ends meet.”

These stories only highlight the issues faced by the survivors of terrorist attacks in Pakistan.The slow or lack of follow-up by relevant quarters after the attack often gives an opening for vested interests to exploit and undermine the good work undertaken by the various government agencies.