Punjab lawmakers allege corruption in flood relief

Lahore: A year after floods devastated many parts of Pakistan, lawmakers in Punjab province are grossly unsatisfied with the rehabilitation work undertaken by the government and by local and foreign NGOs and allege widescale corruption.

"NGOs did 90 per cent corruption in rehabilitation and livelihood schemes for flood victims in Muzaffargarh district of Punjab province," said Jamshed Ahmad Dasti, a parliamentarian of the ruling Pakistan People's Party.

Dasti, whose constituency was affected by the floods, alleged that "blackmailers and officials" were involved in corruption.

He appealed to Supreme Court Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry to initiate action against those responsible for the alleged graft.

Those named in a judicial commission's report for breaching a dyke and the destruction of 589 villages in Punjab should be brought to justice, Dasti demanded.

Malik Ahmad Yar Hunjra, a provincial legislator of the dissident faction of the PML-Q, too alleged that NGOs were involved in corruption as they had taken national identity cards from flood victims on the pretext that they were doing surveys and would give them rations, cash and fertilizers.

Nawabzada Iftikhar Ahmad, a PML-N leader from an area affected by floods, said that since the government had not conducted an audit of the NGOs, no one knew the real working of these organisations.

"The NGOs are working for affected people but I have not seen anyone who was satisfied with the working of these NGOs," he said.

Allah Wasaya, a flood victim of Mauza Hunjrai in Muzaffarghar, said the breach of a dyke occurred in his area on July 30 last year and he sent his family to Muzaffargarh city, where they lived in a school.

"My house was washed away. Later, an NGO contacted me and promised to rebuild my house. I gave my family's national identity cards to the NGO's representatives," he said.

Wasaya later went to the local lawmaker for shelter and took a cottage.

"I was very happy when the Chief Minister came to our village last year and announced model houses would be built. But his promise has not materialised. Now my family and I are building a mud house," he said.