Watan Zeb

Rehman Gul (not his real name), a resident of Ladha tehsil of South Waziristan district consulted a Dera Ismail Khan based Ophthalmologist some months back due to some vision related problem.

The doctor operated his one eye on Sehat Card health insurance scheme and advised him to operate his second eye sometime later.

However, many tribesmen like him are perturbed over the federal government decision to stop funding the Sehat Card scheme for merged areas and shift the programme to the provincial government.

Mr Gul said that federal government decision to stop funding the insurance scheme was injustice to poor tribesmen like him. “I do not have money to fund my treatment at some private hospital,” he said.

He said that now he was waiting for federal government decision to restore the health card for merged areas. Mr Gul said that getting quality healthcare for thousands of merged districts families was unimaginable in this age of inflation. He demanded the federal government to restore their treatment on the Health Card.

On the other hand, Sardar Jamaluddin Khan, a tribal elder from the South Waziristan district said that decision to end funding for merged districts was an injustice to the people of merged districts.

He asked the KP government to work on providing some alternate to the federal programme as it was great relief to poor tribesmen.

The controversy over Sehat Card scheme

Earlier on Monday, Naseer Wazir, MPA from South Waziristan told the KP assembly that the center has slashed the merged districts funds by Rs 25 billion. Mr Wazir said that the amount was allocated for Sehat Card facility for the tribesmen.

Mr Wazir also blamed the KP government for the issue and said that it was taking place on the watch of PTI government. He said that KP government should have taken timely steps after being asked by the center to adjust the region in the provincial health insurance programme.

At this occasion, he also announced to give his salary for the merged districts health card scheme.

Besides, he also criticized the practice of using the nomenclature of the newly merged districts. “We had agreed to merger to become part of KP and not turn into newly merged districts,” he said.

Earlier on March 31, KP Minister for Finance Taimur Saleem Jhagra said that federal government has decided to handover the merged district’s health card scheme to the province at its later’s demand.

Mr Jhagra said that Prime Minister Imran Khan has signed the transfer of the health insurance scheme to the province. He had said that Federal Minister for Finance Shaukat Tareen has also agreed to the arraignment. Mr Jhagra had said that following the transfer of the required funds for the purpose, KP government will include tribesmen in its Sehat Card Plus scheme.

However, on June 20, Mr Jhagra said that the federal government has refused to fund the Sehat Card scheme for merged districts and they will not able to use this facility after June 30.

He said that federal government has deprived over 5 million of the people of the region from healthcare. Mr Jhagra said that the tribesmen were most deserving people for the health insurance scheme and center cannot deny them of this right.

He said that he will fight till last to ensure the Sehat Card scheme for the tribesmen and there would not be any compromise on the subject.