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Saturday, March 26, 2011

Govt announces compensation for Dattakhel drone strike victims

MIRANSHAH, March 26 : The Government of Pakistan for the first time has announced compensation for the victims of Dattakhel US drone strike in which 45 innocent tribesmen were killed and 25 others wounded and the attack was condemned strongly by the army chief, Prime Minister Gilani and others in their separate statements.

Sources told INP that in a rare meeting of North Waziristan Agency (NWA) Political Administration officials with the family members of Dattakhel US drone strike victims, it announced Rs300,000 each for the family members of those martyred in the Dattakhel drone strike and Rs100,000 each for injured ones.

Sources said that it is unprecedented that the Political Administration has announced compensation for the victims of drone strikes in NWA, a tribal area of Pakistan bordering Afghanistan and considered the hot-bed of militancy by the Americans, since the US unmanned drone strikes started their operations of targeting militants in the tribal areas.

Sources further disclosed that on 17th March US drone strike in Dattakhel, around 45 innocent tribesmen including influential Maliks of tehsil Dattakhel, Khassadar Force personnel and Taliban commander of tehsil Dattakhel Maulana Sherabat Khan along with 12 foot-soldiers were martyred and 25 wounded. The US drone had targeted a Jirga which was summoned to settle a dispute among the locals over a Chromite mine in Dattakhel.

Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani, Pakistan Army Chief, Governor Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and several others in their separate statements vociferously condemned the US drone strike in Dattakhel for the first time. Tribesmen hailing from Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) and Frontier Regions (FR) of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) held protest demonstration in the tribal areas and also in settled districts of Pakistan to condemn the drone strikes in tribal areas.

Sources on condition of anonymity told INP that announcement of compensation for the victims of Dattakhel drone strikes by Government of Pakistan has challenged the accuracy of drone strikes as US and Pakistani officials both claimed that drones were just targeting militants without harming the locals.

On the other hand, victims of drone strikes and tribesmen have demanded of the government several times to halt the drone strikes which is clear violation of Pakistan airspace and also killing locals but the authorities concerned turned deaf ear to their demands.

It merits a mention here that NWA Taliban commander Hafiz Gul Bahadur had also threatened to end peace deal with the government after the Dattakhel

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