Punjab had announced Rs0.5m financial compensation for the family of each martyr, Rs75,000 for each injured person

SIALKOT-The bereaved families of three martyred and 16 injured persons, the victims of Indian shelling, could not be provided financial compensation despite lapse of three and half years.

According to the affected families, belonging to border villages along Sialkot Working Boundary, they have been left in the lurch and despite claims could not be provided any help, leave alone financial assistance, even after three and half years of “the calamity that not only snatched their loved ones, but devastated their lives beyond repair.

The affected families claimed and they have raising their voice against this “step-motherly treatment” by the government but to no avail. They urged the government to stop testing their patience and provide them their much delayed financial compensation.

They regretted at widespread apathy of the officials and alleged that they have been made “rolling stone” between the offices of the Sialkot district administration for the last three and half years.

They recalled that on August 4,2015 (three and half years ago), Indian Border Security Forces (BSF) had targeted civilian population with intensified mortar shelling on border villages in Phookaliyaan-Bajwat Sector of the 193-km-long Sialkot Working Boundary, killing three persons including two real brothers and injuring critically 16 other persons.

Adnan Akhtar, son of Muhammad Din, resident of village Kachhi Maand-Bajwat) and two real brothers - Muhammad Asif and Faisal Mehmood, sons of Muhammad Akram, resident of village Sukhiyaal-Phookaliyaan-Bajwat were martyred in heavy mortar shelling by Indian BSF. Sixteen other persons including Ali, son of Muhammad Boota, Iqra, daughter of Muhammad Akram, Muhammad Qaisar, son of Muhammad Akram, Fatima Bibi, wife of Ali Raza, resident of village Sukhiyaal-Phookaliyaan-Bajwat), Muhammad Sadique, son of Khushi Muhammad, his wife Shehnaz Bibi, Muhammad Waris, son of Dil Muhammad, residents of village Kheri-Bajwat), Muhammad Younas, son of Rahim Bakhsh, his son Muhammad Hashir; daughters - Sehrish Bano and Bisma Younas, resident of village Kachhi Maand-Bajwat), Fazalaan Bibi, wife of Manzur Ahmed, Rasheeda Bibi, wife of Aziz Ahmed, Shabir Ahmed, son of Allah Rakha, Kaneez Bibi, wife of Muhammad Riaz and Nasreen Bibi, widow of Mushtaq Ahmed, resident of village Looni-Kheri-Bajwat, were injured critically during this Indian shelling.

The affected families informed that the then Punjab government had announced Rs0.5 million financial compensation for the family of every martyred persons and Rs75,000 each injured person.

Muhammad Akram, father of two martyred youth - Asif and Faisal Mehmood, said that he and his family has been awaiting financial compensation announced by the Punjab government despite lapse of three and half years.

He said that his daughter Iqra Bibi and another son Muhammad Qaisar had also injured in the Indian BSF shelling.

“Three and half years have passed but claims and announcements by the government as well as politicians could not be materialised,” he regretted, adding that the affected families had completed official process required for issuance of the financial assistance several times but nothing came out.

Akram, however, acknowledged that free medical treatment had been provided his injured son and daughter at the Sialkot CMH. “As the injured were discharged from hospital, they were left at the mercy of circumstances and even today they are deprived the financial compensation, he pointed out.

Ch Muhammad Azam, Chairman UC Kachhi Maand-Bajwat, informed that the poor family has knocked at almost all doors for getting financial compensation but their three-year-long struggle yielded no fruit.

He claimed that being the UC chairman, he had raised the issue at the Sialkot District Council.

When contacted, officials concerned of the Sialkot District Administration claimed that they had sent requests in writing for financial compensation to the shelling families to the Punjab government several times, but awaiting for any “go ahead” by the provincial government.

Local MNA Ch Armughan Subhani expressed complete solidarity with the affected families. The PML-N MNA said that the government must ensure early provision of financial compensation to the victims of Indian shelling.

Ch Armughan Subhani said that he has repeatedly brought the matter into the notice of the both Punjab and Federal government but these families could not be assisted so far.

“I think the the main reason behind the inordinate delay is lack of coordination between the provincial and federal departments concerned,” he argued, adding that whatever the reason be, the affected families should be provided financial compensation at the earliest to end their three and half year old plight.

The shelling affected families have appealed to Prime Minister Imran Khan and Punjab Chief Minister Sardar Usman Buzdar to take notice of their miseries and ensure early provision of financial compensation.