Islamabad Politics Report/Moazzam Raza Tabassam: Former PPP Senator Farhatullah Babar has called for launching ‘Civilian Terrorism victims Rehabilitation” Project based on a full disclosure about the Pakistanis killed in drone strikes, in air strikes by PAF in tribal, the so called ‘collateral damage’ in other military operations in FATA, the status of detainees in the internment centres under military control in addition to those who have been martyred almost every week in terror attacks throughout the country.
“Stop treating tribesmen as mere statistics of collateral losses and treat them as breathing and self respecting humans”.
He was speaking at a seminar on ‘Legislation for Civilian Victims of Terrorism’ organized by a private think tank I-SAPS in Nathiagli on Saturday.
Deploring that Parliamentary questions on these issues were never answered he said that time had come to take the bull by the horns if the state wishes to contain the tide of movements like the Pushtun Tahaffuz Movement (PTM), he said
General Musharraf admitted in “In the Line of Fire” to handing over hundreds of alleged militants to CIA for millions of dollars.
How many of them were Pakistani tribesmen, what were the charges and why due process was not followed in handing them over Pakistanis to foreign countries he asked?
The “Action in Aid of Civil Power Regulation” promulgated in 2011 was given a back dated effect from 2008 to enable the security agencies bring into the open those the tribesmen held in ‘internment centres’ for trial in the courts.
However, no one knows how many internment centres were set up, where, how many alleged militants kept in these centres, deaths in custody and whether they were being tried in courts and asked why this secrecy.
There is another less notice dimension of the civilian casualties, he said.
Literally the whole tribal populace is silently enduring humiliation at the scores of check posts. This victimhood has not even been acknowledged he said and warned against reaching the tipping point sooner than later.
The Coalition Support Fund has compensated material losses in the war but no institutional arrangements are made for reparations for the loss of civilian lives, he said.
The primary responsibility for compensation is that of the Pakistani state he said.
Allowing the US to put zero value at the lives of Pakistani tribesmen and not demanding reparations on behalf of victims is a crime that needed to be investigated he said.
In May 2013 the Peshawar High Court ruled that drone strikes were illegal and should be declared a war crime. Declaring that the US government is bound to pay compensation the Court asked the government to raise the matter with the UN Secretary General he said and asked whether the matter had been pursued?
The Senate also passed a unanimous Resolution in December last asking the government to demand compensation from the US government for those killed in drone strikes since 2000, copies of which were also sent to the UN GA, NATO, the EU, the Asian Parliamentary Assembly and the Commonwealth.
He said that in 2015 President Obama admitted death from drone in Pakistan, apologized for it and promised full investigation for the loss of civilian life. This rare thing happened because the civilians killed were an American and an Italian and no Pakistani was involved.
In Yemen, Iraq and in Afghanistan the US has paid compensation sometimes publicly sometimes secretly to drone victims.
He said the according to reports a 40 million dollars Pakistani Civilian Assistance Fund (PCAF) had been set up sometime back and asked whether the money had reached the civilian victims of drone strikes?