MANSEHRA:(BY MUSTAFA MUGHAL) Survivors of the October 2005 devastating earthquake in Balakot tehsil announced the boycott of the government events meant to mark 17th anniversary of the natural disaster.
“We have decided to stay away from the 2005 earthquake anniversary gatherings being organised by the federal and provincial governments as the latter want to use them as a good photo opportunity,” survivors said.
Both governments have failed to ensure allotment of plots in the New Balakot City housing projectto us forcing us to lead a miserable life in makeshift shelters, chairman of the Tehreek-i-Takmeel Balakot Tahir Khan told The Aitadal News.
Accompanied by a group of quake survivors, Mr. Tahir complained that the international community donated over $5 billion for rehabilitation and reconstruction after the 2005 earthquake but there was no end to the misery of the people displaced by the natural calamity.
He said the then military ruler, General Pervez Musharraf, had laid the foundation stone of the New Balakot City housing project in 2007 but the future of the initiative continued to be uncertain.
Mr Tahir said the project was to be completed in 2011 at the cost of Rs13 billion to resettle earthquake surviving families.
“This housing project has been in doldrums for the last 11 years with the cost surging to over Rs22 billion according to the federal government,” he said.
Local leader Maulana Qazi Khalil insisted that the federal and provincial governments had never been on the same page about the New Balakot City project.
He said former premier Imran Khan had expressed the desire to develop that housing project on the basis of public-private partnership two years ago but his government didn’t take any practical steps for it.
Resident about boycott of events
Another resident, Qari Sarfaraz, said quake survivors from Balakot and Garlat areas would boycott the events planned by the government to mark the earthquake anniversary and would hold Quran Khwani for the students, who lost life to the strong earthquake.