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Thursday May 03 2018

South Waziristan woman runs from pillar to post for 'missing' compensation

Khanwara Bibi's destroyed house in Kaniguram town of South Waziristan Agency, FATA. Photo: Ali Afzaal/

WANA: In a tent set up near her destroyed house in South Waziristan Agency’s Kaniguram town, Khanwara Bibi is waiting for justice as she was deprived of the compensatory money her family was supposed to receive for suffering losses during the war against terrorism in their area.

After being repatriated to her hometown, Khanwara Bibi says she received a compensatory cheque of Rs0.4 million to rebuild her destroyed house. But has still not been able to get cash as it was swept away during the procedure of getting cashed.

Khanwara Bibi arranged the temporary settlement in Kaniguram for her four-year-old daughter and ailing husband, on returning to South Waziristan from Tank district of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa where she had moved to following Operation Rah-e-Nijat in 2009.

She was living in a rented house in Tank until last year, when the Pakistan Army allowed the displaced persons’ repatriation also announcing their hometowns were cleared of militants.

The army then started a survey to compensate the ones whose houses were destroyed or damaged. Those whose houses were damaged received cheques of Rs160,000 each while the ones with destroyed houses were given cheques of Rs0.4 million.

But since Khanwara Bibi did not have a bank account in her name, getting the cheque cashed readily was not a feasible option for her.

She gave her cheque to the political administration, but has since been waiting for the cash.

As she needed the money to start a normal life in her hometown, Khanwara Bibi approached the tribal elders for help, but in vain.

She also enquired about her cheque from the assistant political agent of Ladha in South Waziristan, but was not assisted. Even the deputy political tehsilar of the area did not entertain her request for help.

Having all the doors closed on her face, Khanwara Bibi approached the civil courts in Tank.

Since the legal system of Pakistan does not extend to the Federally Administered Tribal Areas, Khanwara Bibi had to take her case to KP, which comes under the jurisdiction of law and Constitution.

At the Tank court, civil judge Rehan Khan Gandapur approved her request and has summoned on May 17 the assistant political agent and deputy political tehsildar of Ladha along with manager of the bank responsible for providing the amount to repatriated displaced persons.

When a bank manager from DI Khan was approached regarding Khanwara Bibi’s case, he says cheques given to displaced persons cannot be submitted in anyone else’s account. Which is why, he adds, those getting the cheques were asked to immediately open a bank account if they did not have one.

Khanwara Bibi has requested Peshawar Corps Commander Lieutenant General Nazir Ahmed Butt, KP Governor Iqbal Zafar Jhagra, FC IG major General Abid Latif and South Waziristan Political Agent Sohail Khan, to arrest all those involved in getting her money.