LOWER DIR: Jamaat-i-Islami chief Sirajul Haq here on Friday demanded the federal government to increase the amount to be given to each of the owners of the fully damaged houses to at least Rs2.5 million instead of Rs500,000 as it was impossible for a person to build a house in that amount.

Speaking at a press conference here in Ahyaul Uloom, Balambat, after completing his visit to the flood-affected areas of lower and upper Dir, the JI chief asked both the Pakistan Democratic Movement and Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf leadership to come forward and help the flood victims across the country.

Mr Haq said he visited almost all the flood-hit areas of the country and had never seen such devastation before. Appreciating the role of humanitarian organisations, including Alkhidmat Foundation, he said they provided every possible relief to the victims.

He said that about 50 million people had been affected, thousands of houses damaged and livestock and standing crops washed away.

Siraj says it is impossible to build a house with Rs500,000

The JI chief asked the government to involve members of the civil society like lawyers and traders in distribution of foreign aid to ensure transparency.

He said the government had announced Rs70 billion for relief and rehabilitation of the affected-people, but this amount was insufficient. He said the losses in Balochistan, Swat and Dir alone were more than that amount. He said millions of people were still waiting for the government’s relief.

“The winter is fast approaching and there will be snowfall in the hilly areas of Malakand after two months,” Siraj said, adding the government should immediately start rehabilitation of the homeless people to prevent any tragedy.

Mr Haq said the government should provide free of cost seeds, fertilisers and electricity to the flood-hit farmers across the country. He announced that the JI would soon challenge the extra taxes in the power bills in the Peshawar High Court.

He said Malakand division had been affected by militancy, military operation, earthquakes and floods and as such the government should declare it a tax-free zone till 2035.

The JI chief said the KP government had failed to maintain peace and order in the province as lawmakers were being attacked and letters for extortion being sent to them.

Published in Dawn, September 17th, 2022

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