A War Veteran's Struggle
An IDP from Lachin, Asif Allahverdiyev, participated in the battles for Karabakh. Complications from a gunshot wound that he received there eventually cost him the use of his legs.
Before these battles, Asif says that his life was just fine.
“I was driving a lorry (Kamaz), and was able to support my family up until 2004.”
Asif was a former soldier who fought in the war from 1988-1992. In 1992, he was wounded in the thigh. Still, he was able to rebuild his life, and his family and children have helped him to forget about his injury.
Then, in 2004, the strength of his legs began gradually deteriorate. Despite receiving treatment, it became difficult for him to get around without the use of a cane. Since 2011, he has been receiving a disability pension.
"I do not blame the government. I did not deal with this issue in time. Despite participating in the Karabakh war, I am not considered to be a war invalid. I receive a pension because of an illness. "
According to Asif Allahverdiyev, he first received a pension of 148 manat (141 USD). Then, the pension gradually began to rise, eventually reaching 170 manat (162 USD). This pension remains the only income for his entire family, and he’s unable to get the full amount promised to him.
He says that without the help of friends and relatives, it would be impossible to support a family of 6 people on the money that he receives from the government.
"We are six in the family. I support all of them. One of my sons came home early from the army. He was considered unfit for military service. My second son had an accident. One hand is not working. Now even healthy people can’t find work, not even mentioning my sons. "
He says he took out a loan for the treatment of his son.
"When my son had an accident, I was forced to take a bank loan. 84 manat (80 USD) is now taken out of my pension every month. I currently have a loan of about 1400-1500 manat (1428 USD). "
Asif is also concerned about the condition of his feet. He says if he had money he could be able to fix his legs.
"My legs can be treated. But no one cares. And I have no money for treatment. "
Asif is afraid that if his legs suddenly stopped working altogether, no treatment would be able to help him. He hopes that maybe he, as an injured veteran from the Karabakh war, would get treatment through the state. His life in general will be much easier if they also recognize his service and give him a veteran’s pension.
The head of the Ministry of Labor and Social Protection’s press department, Elman Babayev, said that Asif Allahverdiyev must first apply to the Ministry of Defense in order to confirm that his disability resulted from the conflict. The Doctoral-Medical Commission of the Ministry of Defense will review his documents and after confirming that he was wounded during battle in Karabakh, Asif Allahverdiyev will be able to apply to the Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare.
A spokesman for the Defense Ministry, Vagif Dargyahly, said that his department can’t review Asif’s documents until he applies. They remarked, "If his words and participation in the battles for Karabakh are confirmed, the ministry will send Asif Allahverdiyev to the relevant authorities for treatment and registration as a disabled Karabakh war veteran."
When we said goodbye to Asif Allahverdiyev, he took his cane and went out of the house. When asked where he was going, he showed his pension card. "This is pension time. I am going to the ATM to check my account to make my family happy. "
“This material has been prepared with the support of International Alert as part of the project ‘Unheard Voices’, financed by the Conflict Stability and Security Fund of Great Britain. The content is the responsibility of the journalists and does not necessarily reflect the views of International Alert and our donors.”