Victims of Kohati church attack still waiting for relief

Jamal Safi

PESHAWAR: As many as 97 people were killed and at least 200 were injured in a deadly suicide attack on All Saints Church Kohati Gate Peshawar on 22 September 2013, the building of church was reconstructed however the victims are still waiting for relief as most of them are not able to restart their normal lives.

According to details, the building of the church was destroyed but it was reconstructed with the help of Christian community funds worth of Rs four million.

Though the building was seen to be in real shape but families of those killed and injured in the deadly incident are still waiting for the announced packages of the then federal government.

While talking to Pukhtun Nama, father of Kohati Church, Shahzad Murad said that the victims of terrorist attack had only received money from Khyber Pukhtunkhwa (KP) government which were Rs 0.5 million for the deceased and Rs 0.2 million for injured.

He claimed that the reconstruction of the church had taken few years and the government had not contributed even a single penny and Christian community had collected Rs 4 million for the reassembling of church.

It was one of the deadliest assaults on minorities and the then federal government had announced Rs200 million for victim families but the promise has yet to be fulfilled, he added.

Regarding the announced package, Anwar Ghulam, an advocate from Christian community had stated that Provincial Disaster Management Authority (PDMA) of KP and AUQAF had changed the Rs200 million package for Christian into endowment fund for all minorities which is totally injustice towards the victims of the church blast.

One, Shabnam Sohail wife of the victim of Kohati assault Mr. Jonnatan Sohail, who had injured severely told that we had received Rs 0.2 million from the KP government but nothing has been received yet as per the announced package of the then federal government.
She continued that her victim’s husband had gone through four major surgeries and still he is unable to return to normal life.

While reminding the deadliest day, Ms Shabnam said that the attack had destroyed their family and if her husband was not attended the prayers on that day, may they have not suffered so much miseries as they are confronting with it.

“Due to my husband’s health condition, our sons Noman and Asfan are not able to achieve their dreams of becoming doctors to serve the humanity” she lamented.

Somy Saleem, member of the ill-fated family, who lost three members of the family and injuring two others, told that they lost their uncle identified as Nazir Masi, his wife Jameela and their daughter Sania and injured his Sister Pinky Saleem and mother Yasmeen in the attack.

He stated that still they are spending Rs 15 to 20 thousand for the treatment of the injured his sister and mother and they are facing hard times because of government ignorance.

President Bishop Church of Pakistan Humphrey Sarfaraz Peters said that during the meeting with Secretary to Government of KP AUQAF, Hajj, Religious and Minority Affairs Farrukh Sair, he assured that the announced package would be only distributed among the Kohati blast victims and the committee had already constituted to finalize the list of victims.

In an interview with Secretary to Government of KP AUQAF, Hajj, Religious and Minority Affairs Department Farrukh Sair said that home department KP through Deputy Commissioner Peshawar had already distributed Rs70.7 million among the 97 dead families and 111 major injured but the remaining Rs200 million had converted to endowment fund under the verdict of Supreme Court of Pakistan on 16, April 2015.

He stated that the endowment fund would be used for the all minorities terrorist attack victims in feature