Home KP,Women Rights Fact-Check: No woman in Khyber district deprived of Free Flour

Fact-Check: No woman in Khyber district deprived of Free Flour

A local Jirga (council) in Shalobar, an area of Bara Tehsil of the Khyber district of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, allegedly announced that women will not be allowed to stand in queues to get free flour
by TNN Editor - 30 Mar, 2023 1635

Kaif Afridi

A local Jirga (council) in Shalobar, an area of Bara Tehsil of the Khyber district of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, allegedly announced that women will not be allowed to stand in queues to get free flour as, according to the Jirga, women are humiliated due to disorder during the distribution of free flour.

Since then, users on social media are sharing news, opposing this move of the Jirga by saying that despite the rule of law in the Khyber district, local leaders are making their own decisions, and are not cooperating with the local administration.

At the same time, a misconception is prevalent that women are being deprived of flour.

The real deal

Khyalmat Shah, a journalist from Khyber district, told TNN that the decision was made by the local committee, 'Shalobar Qaumi Council', about two days ago in the Shalobar tribe, an area attached to the Bara Bazar.

Also Read: Dissatisfied citizens criticize KP’s Free Flour Package

Jirga was of the view that during the distribution of free flour, women were humiliated and often the deserving women went back home without flour. Similarly, there had been disorder at the distribution points, which not only led to fights but also caused humiliation for women, he added.

He said women also protested by closing the Pak-Afghan highway for traffic, saying that poor women are being harassed in the name of free government flour. So, in this context, the Shalober Qaumi Council adopted a method to solve this problem, which has made it easier for women and deserving people to get free flour.

Steps taken by the Shalober Qaumi Council

Khyalmat Shah said the committee is working hard because the Shalober tribe, which has a population of around 100000, was provided with only four quotas of flour which were insufficient and women were finding it difficult to get flour. So this committee established 22 points in the area where not only free flour but also various non-governmental organizations and affluent people also provide flour and other rations to the needy people.

In this committee, the local municipal representatives are also playing an important role, and they are fully cooperating in serving the deserving people, bringing disorder and fights to an end. Now other tribes of the Khyber district have also started adopting this method which is a welcoming move as the women registered under the Benazir Income Support Program, and also other deserving people made eligible through the app, are getting flour with great ease, he furthered.

Khyalmat Shah Afridi further said the role of committees at the local level is also appreciable because they already have the data of their respective areas, "Actually, Khyber district is also a tribal district affected by terrorism, so after resettlement here, different types of non-governmental organizations and welfare organizations have helped the victims, be it in the form of money or rations, so these local committees are aware of all the needy people in their area. It is wrong to say that the committee has helped women banned from taking free flour, still, under the Benazir Income Support Program women receive money from concerned centers in Bara Bazar, so I think the work done by the Shalobar National Council is commendable."

Failure on the part of the administration to distribute free flour

Social activist Muhammad Jameel Afridi said hunger, an empty stomach is a menace that does not follow any traditions and religion, an empty stomach only asks for food.

He said that ever since the government started the free government flour scheme, news like this is seen every day: an elderly person died or a woman was injured in a stampede during the procurement of free flour in a certain area, administration failure, distribution centers became battlegrounds; stone pelting, slogan, shouting and protests, people are out of their minds, and the truck of free flour was looted, etc. "Government is offering flour and is also giving death, how far has the West gone and here the administration has not even been able to train people to stand in queues," he lamented.

He said that when the government suddenly brings a scheme and no special arrangements have been made for it, then such situations will arise, on one hand, there is inflation and unemployment, on the other hand, the month of Ramadan continues. It is obvious that poor people will leave their homes to get flour.

According to Muhammad Jameel, the flour distributors are often untrained, and they do not know about food distribution, first of all, the management themselves do not understand the procedure, so why bother the poor people, "We have worked in different sectors, distributed food to thousands of people where there was neither violation of traditions nor such long queues, the administration should give a quota to a responsible person at the village council or union council level, so that the people face no problems in getting flour, similarly one suggestion is that if the government makes flour cheap, everyone will get it easily. On the one hand, the government is giving free flour, on the other hand, many things are becoming expensive, does that make any sense?"

It should be noted that the government-free flour scheme across the country, including Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, started on March 20, and according to the government, it will continue until the 25th of Ramadan Mubarak.

The caretaker government of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa has also decided to give 30 kg of free flour to 5.75 million families across the province. According to a report, free flour has been given to 1.2 million families so far, but unfortunately, news of stampedes and fights are being reported from different areas.

During the distribution of free flour in the Charsadda and Bannu districts, 3 people including a woman died due to disorder, while many people were also injured.

The procedure for obtaining free flour

Registration in Benazir Income Support Program is required for free flour. To know a citizen's eligibility, one needs to send his/her ID card number to 8070 and visit the concerned center with his/her original ID card if eligible.

Scan the ID card with the app, then take the slip and collect the flour from the truck at the center. One bag of flour will be given at a time, the second bag will be received after 8 days, thus a family can get a total of three bags of flour under this scheme.