By: Malik Mumtaz Khan
March 25, 2001
MIRAMSHAH: Despite protests by the angry tribesmen over the loss of their near and dear ones in the deadly US drone attack against a tribal jirga on March 17 at Dattakhel area of North Waziristan, the government is yet to announce compensation for the affected people.
Kamran Khan, the lone MNA from under-developed North Waziristan, on Thursday secretly paid a visit to the remote Dattakhel area, about 45 kilometres west of Miramshah, to offer condolences to the bereaved families who lost 49 members including children in the attack.
The tribesmen were hoping their MNA would bring some monetary compensation for the heirs of those killed in the drone attack, but Kamran Khan left them disappointed when he appeared for a while and then disappeared.
Besides other villagers, 10 tribal elders, eight members of the Khassadar Force or tribal police and seven children lost their lives in the March 17 drone strike targeting the tribal jirga. Around 50 persons had sustained injuries in the attack and most are still admitted to various hospitals in Miramshah, Bannu and Peshawar.
Reports from Dattakhel said its residents were not only upset over the cold response of the government but were angry with their MNA for not raising the issue of killing of innocent tribesmen in the National Assembly.
Though strong-worded statement of the Army Chief Gen Ashfaq Parvez Kayani against the drone attack on the tribal jirga had eased somewhat the pain of the tribesmen, the government’s failure to compensate the heirs of the slain tribesmen had angered them.
The political administration that normally pays Rs300,000 as compensation to every victim of the domestic violence and Rs50,000 to the injured also kept quiet and was still undecided about compensating the drone victims’ families.
Sources in the political administration said they would pay compensation to the victims of the drone strikes if the federal government or governor issued any directives and announced additional funds for the purpose.
Governor Masood Kausar, who is critical of the US drone attacks on the Pakistan soil, was expected to announce compensation package for the jirga members killed in the attack. However, it isn’t known when he would do that.
Meanwhile, oblivious of the killing of so many innocent people in its drone attack, the US spy planes are still seen flying over North Waziristan and keeping the tribesmen, particularly the children and women, terrified.