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PESHAWAR: The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government seemed distant and uncaring when the issue of the recent unrest in Chitral, where earthquake-affected families tired of waiting for the relief had announced to leave the country and take refuge in Afghanistan, was raised in the provincial assembly on Monday.

PPP MPA Nighat Orakzai, a vocal and robust lawmaker, who usually doesn’t sit down quiet easily, did not stir any emotion or response in the assembly also having representatives from Chitral, who hailed from the ruling coalition in the province.

Chief Minister Pervez Khattak along with a brigade of ministers, advisers and special assistants, who were present during the proceedings, did not respond to the mover, who raised this humanitarian issue on the floor of the house. Speaker Asad Qaisar presided over the session.

Nighat Orakzai said on a point of order that around 700 families from Drosh area of Chitral whose houses were damaged in the earthquake had left the area and moved towards the border to take refuge in Afghanistan.

Nighat Orakzai raised issue in PA but got no response though CM, ministers were there

She said the affected families had yet to get compensation for their damaged houses. The treasury benches remained unmoved, however.

A 7.5 magnitude earthquake on October 26, 2015, had caused widespread damages in KP which left 225 people dead and wounded 226 people. The devastating quake had also caused damages to 97,995 houses in the province mostly in Malakand Division. The government had announced Rs200,000 for fully damaged house and Rs100,000 for partially damaged one.

According to media reports around 700 families of Drosh had moved to Arandu, the border town to migrate to Afghanistan. They complained that the government did not pay them compensation for their damaged properties. The district administration had approached elders of the area to persuade protesting people to call off their protest.

Bibi Fozia, PTI lawmaker from Chitral told Dawn that district administration was negotiating with the affected families on Monday to stop them from migrating to Afghanistan. She said that some of the demands of the affected people were genuine, but the district administration had no funds to pay them compensation money.

She said that the administration had received Rs2.19 billion from the provincial government for payment of compensation to affected families. She said that around 24,000 people had claimed compensation in Chitral but the government had compensated 18,500 families so far.

She said that the district administration had asked the provincial government to release funds to pay compensation to the remaining affected families, but request had not been entertained so far.

The brutal murder of a teenage girl in Galiyat area of Abbottabad district also echoed in the assembly.

Special assistant to the chief minister on information Mushtaq Ahmad Ghani assured the house that culprits involved in this gruesome act would be arrested very soon.

Responding to the point of order moved by PML-N MPA Amina Sardar, he said that investigations were in progress and police had taken several people in custody. He said that police might reach to real culprits in next 24 hours and people involved in this barbaric act would be brought to justice.

Amina Sardar said that Enbereen Riasat, a grade-9 student was tied on the rare seat of a van with steal cable near Donga Gali and then set her on fire. She demanded arrest of the killers.

Other lawmakers from Abbottabad also supported the mover.

During the question hour, JUI-F MPA from Buner Mufti Fazal Ghafoor accused minister of Zakat and Auqaf Habibur Rehman, who belongs to Jamaat-i-Islami, of using Auqaf funds to bribe the people.

He alleged that the minister was providing grants to mosques and seminaries which had affiliation with the JI or its allies. He claimed that the minister had released Rs500,000 grant to the local office of JI in Buner from the Auqaf funds.

The minister denied allegations and said he had discretionary powers to sanction grant up to Rs1,000,000 to a seminary.

He said the department had received applications in thousands asking for grants and that the grant would be released on merit.

The minister used ‘un-parliamentary’ words against the lawmaker before the speaker ordered the house staff to expunge them.

The mover’s three questions were put to vote but they were defeated by a show of hands.

Published in Dawn, May 3rd, 2016