Relief operations in weather-hit areas: MMA MNAs criticise NWFP government for excluding them
ISLAMABAD: Two members of the National Assembly, Maulana Shah Abdul Aziz and Hamidul Haq, of the Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal (MMA) criticised the NWFP government for discriminating against them in relief work in their constituencies.
The MNAs expressed their views during a debate which was allowed for representatives of areas hit by heavy rain and snowfall to highlight problems faced by the people of their respective areas. Both MNAs belong to Samiul Haq’s group of the MMA, the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam, and often differ with MMA policies.
Mr Aziz, who represents Karak, complained that the federal and the provincial governments were not consulting him regarding relief operations. “It will make me unpopular in my constituency. The government is distributing cheques and relief goods through my opponent whom I defeated with a large margin in the elections,” he said.
Mr Haq, who was elected from Nowshera, said the government was carrying out relief operations through un-elected people. “These people do not even belong to the constituency and are misusing the funds,” he said.
He said that in a village in his constituency, three people died because of bad weather and the people responsible for distributing relief goods distributed Rs 100,000 cheques to 11 people. “Investigations revealed that the other eight persons had died three months earlier of natural causes,” he said.
The debate was allowed on the request of Liaquat Baloch and continued for more than one hour. Most of the MNAs belonging to Swat, Swabi, Chitral, Bunair, Manshera, Batgram and the South Waziristan Agency criticised the federal government for not involving them in relief operations.
“The federal government has preferred to promote its cronies rather than elected representatives. Also, the government gave a lukewarm response to these areas because they voted in favour of the MMA,” said one of the speakers.
The MNAs complained that the president, the prime minister, and other federal ministers visited these areas, but did not bother to consult the elected representatives and ask them about the sufferings of the people.
They demanded relief in agricultural loans in addition to having declared these areas ‘calamity-hit’ and providing emergency food items to the people. “Some people are still stranded in remote areas of the NWFP and the government should take urgent measures for their relief,” he said.
They also demanded the speaker form a special house committee to investigate whether the relief goods were distributed among deserving people or the money was redirected to the pockets of some influential people.
Amir Muqam, minister of state for water and power, told the Assembly that he and Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz had visited the affected areas and supervised relief operations. The government has announced Rs 100,000 each as compensation for those killed and Rs 50,000 each for those injured in the disaster. The electricity supply has also been restored in all these areas, he said.