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Abandoned families of terror victims: Dear Abby and Bhaia life is too cruel after you

ISLAMABAD: Nineteen-year-old Sayed Shah from Parachinar region of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa was asleep, on a sunny-morning in June 2017,  when suddenly his elder-sister rushed into the room and said get up, and check there is a blast heard in the nearby market, where our father and brother are on duty.

Shah rushed toward the market and saw injured people crying with pain, bodies being shifted  in ambulances, and law enforcers busy in collecting evidence and controlling the angry mob.

But Sayed Shah was not in his senses and madly moving towards the blast scene, ignoring instructions of the security officials. when one of his relatives caught him from behind and guided him toward the location where he could get information about his father and father-like-brother. His life turned into a nightmare, when he was told that his brother is dead and father is in a critical condition.

Sayed Shah’s father Sultan Shah, 48, and elder-brother Gulab Shah, 21, were at their shops in the Parachinar Market of District Kurram when a suicide blast struck the market, leaving Sultan critically injured and Gulab dead on the spot.

Sultan Shah got his spinal cord damaged and the injury restricted him to bed for the rest of life. He lived for three years after the blast, but could not recover the damage. After the blast tragedy, the family left with no bread earner but  the young Shah as the victims were only sources of income for the nine-member family.

Though, the government gave Rs1.5 million for death of Gulab and Rs500,000 to Sultan  as compensation money, but the family spent all the compensation money on the treatment of Sultan Shah.

“I had a strong desire to see my father standing on his feet again and in the pursuit of his desire, he availed every treatment opportunity, which could cure his father injury, adding that but it was their bad-luck that neither his father could survive nor they left with any saving,” Sayed Shah said while talking to The Reporters.

It is to mention here that the youth was in class seventh when the terrorist incident not only took his brother’s life, but left his father dependent on him. After the tragedy, the youth stopped his education and looked after his wheelchair-bound father for three years.

“My father and brother had a strong desire to get me educated and a career-oriented person as they didn’t want me to work as a laborer like them,” Sayed Shah recalled.

“Until my father was alive, even in bed, he used to ask me to go to school, but there was no other option for me but to start a job and support my family,” he says.

Since his father’s death, Sayed Shah has been working at a shop in the same market, despite fear of a similar blast keeping him tense all the time as the market has witnessed three more blasts after that.

The youth is in fear of what will happen to his mother and five young sisters, if he also loses his life in a similar blast.

“My mother doesn’t want me to work at the market, which turned their life into a nightmare, but I have no option but to work. I have to support my mother in running our domestic affairs and sisters in education,” Shah said.

“I don’t want my sisters to stop their education like me,” the youth added.

The victim’s family is living in a rented house in Parachinar, the capital of Kurram district and hardly meets with its financial expenses.The youth earns Rs15000 per month; of which half of the amount goes to the house rent and with rest, his mother manages their living expenses.

The young boy says, “Everyone leaves you, even your close relatives when you have a difficult time.”

The youth says he always remains mentally prepared for any untoward situation as blast has become a common occurrence in the town.

Annoyed by poverty, he says, suicides and bomb blasts are risks for poor people who are forced to such security risks by their poverty, adding that the elites have no damage.

Worried to manage his financial affairs, the youth is curious is there any mechanism at the state level or any non-profit organization which could provide support to him and thousands of other families affected by terrorism in this country?

Sayed Sultan Shah’s family is not the only family affected by terrorism but there are thousands of families in this country, particularly in KP and Tribal regions, who have lost their bread earners and starving for food.

The government pays compensation money to the victim families, but lacks a mechanism to rehabilitate them.

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