Financial aid to flood victims: PML-N blames Nadra for wrongdoings
By Amjad Mahmood
LAHORE: The Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) has held the National Database Registration Authority (Nadra) responsible for all the wrongdoings in the distribution of financial aid to flood victims.
The PML-N, which held a meeting at the Chief MinisterÂ’s secretariat under the chairmanship of party chief Nawaz Sharif here on Wednesday, warned of taking some alternative route if Nadra failed to satisfy the Punjab government.
The meeting, which was held in the backdrop of reports that non-deserving people were also benefiting from the financial aid for flood victims, had a three-point agenda: rehabilitation of the flood-stricken people, reconstruction of damaged houses and infrastructure and transparency in the issuance of Watan Cards (a kind of ATM cards that allow holders to draw a specific amount from the designated bank).
Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif, opposition leader in National Assembly Chaudhry Nisar, senior adviser Sirdar Zulfikar Khosa and law minister Rana Sanaullah were also present.
PML-N parliamentarians from Mianwali blamed Nadra for returning without assigning any reason most of the people approaching its counters for verification of their identity cards to be able to get cards.
Nadra comes under the domain of Federal Interior Minister Rehman Malik and Shahbaz Sharif had accused him of creating hurdles in the distribution of financial aid.
But the chief minister later said that the issue was resolved after he talked to Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani.
Elected representatives said that Nadra officials were not acknowledging widows and heads of families and were also refusing to issue new national identity cards to those who lost their earlier ones in floods.
Taking a serious notice of the situation, Nawaz Sharif said the alleged lethargy and incapability of Nadra would not be allowed to create hurdles in the way of swift rehabilitation of victims.
“The distressed people cannot be left at the mercy of any department and no department will be allowed to use delaying tactics in relief measures for political motives.”
He warned that some alternative arrangements would be considered if the authority failed to improve its performance.
Nawaz recalled that the country had faced a similar natural calamity in 1992 and the financial assistance had been provided transparently to flood victims even without the existence of Nadra.
Iqbal Zafar Jhaggra, chief of the committee set up by the PML-N to coordinate and advise the Punjab government on flood relief and rehabilitation activities, told Dawn that the Nadra database was an ideal process for identifying the deserving people as alternative arrangements might have some reservations. He said the PML-N had so far no alternative plan.
He said someone (from among those controlling Nadra) might be playing dirty politics, but hoped that the situation would improve as the notice had been taken at the highest level.
Chaudhry Nisar said the authority should review its performance and ensure distribution of cards by Oct 20. He said Nadra was not a personal property of anyone and it should work professionally without taking pressure from any side.
Nadra’s Punjab Director-General Iqbal Tiwana assured the meeting that he would improve the performance of his organization, a handout said.
The PML-N meeting also discussed various proposals for setting up model villages in flood-hit areas and provision of financial assistance to victims.
Nawaz directed authorities concerned to set up committees headed by DCOs to supervise distribution of relief amounts at village level and arrange transport for bringing victims to Nadra centres, while provincial ministers should personally review the distribution process.
He said since provinces were contributing 50 per cent of the financial aid, they had the right to see whether the distribution work was being carried out satisfactorily.
He said model villages should have cemented houses with all basic amenities and small institutions for technical education to enable the people earn their livelihood.
As well-to-do people were interested in establishing model villages, he called for devising a plan in this regard at the earliest and selecting sites close to homes of the affected people.