CJ Bakhat Zamin
Knowing the fact that educated women who live and work in their communities in FATA are very few and not honoring their demands has no service to them and other women in those areas that are in dire need of their services.
49 Lady Health Workers (LHWs) from parachinar, the capital city of Kurram Agency, have not been provided with salaries and this also resulted in depriving local women from receiving health services.
You might wonder why they are not receiving salaries.
It dates back to 2007 when the pluralistic social order collapsed in the agency, provoking sectarian clashes that divided parachinar on ethnic lines forever. It prompted government to vacate Sunnis minority from Parachinar on pretext to protect them from violence while the majority Shia sect remained in the city.
In those vacated were the families of 49 LHWs. The health department stopped their salaries on the plea that they must join their previous duty station, in this case Parachinar, in order to carry out duties and receive salaries.
In response, the LHWs explained that they were displaced from their homes in parachinar and were yet to be repatriated. And if the relevant department wanted them to discharge duties, they should order transfers of them to Sadda Tehsil where they live.
It was unjust demand from government to ask these LHWs to discharge duties in hostile environment, showed by 2007 ethnic clashes. Even being a man I was not ready to start my job as lecturer in Parachinar Degree College. I demanded to be posted in Sadda Tehsil in Kurram Agency. .
Sqadda is a second largest tehsil populated by Sunni sect. Back then, in order to prevent any untoward situation in parachinar, the government through a circular available with governed departments and health directorate FATA secretariat, posted government servants from Sunni sect at Sadda, while government servants from Shia sect at Parachinar. But these 49 LHWs were ignored entirely.
When they protested against this indifferent attitude of the relevant authority, they were asked to ensure their availability in person before a committee at Peshawar where out of the total 49 LHWs, 25 were physically verified. They were re-verified again at Sadda where 22 of them appeared before the committee chaired by Additional Agency Surgeon Lower and Central Kurram.
They were promised that their transfer orders would be issued to Sadda their salaries would be released soon. But after they signed surety bonds, the LHWs duly fulfilled conditions but neither they were given transfer orders nor salaries by the government. They’re still struggling for their right living in far flung areas.
In my opinion, the solution to this long pending issue lies in the implementation of the proposed re-adjustment plan at Sadda City which was finalized by former Additional Agency Surgeon, Dr Mujahid Khan who had ordered re-deployment of these LHWs at Sadda.
As per the proposed plan, the official transfer orders of those LHWs who have produced surety bonds should be issued and their salaries should also be released immediately.
These are few literate girls who have consented to serve their communities in FATA as we all know the plight of women inside the region which is already in doldrums and more importantly several women dies during delivery each year due to non-availability of first hand information and medical services.
Preventing them from discharging services is injustice to women and newborn babies in the communities. Education and health should be the priority of the government and those serving communities inside FATA should be dealt with kindness and empathy, not the otherwise.