Tribal elders reject PM's compensation package for Parachinar bombing victims

Published June 29, 2017
Protesters stage a sit-in on Sher Shah Suri Road, Peshawar, on Wednesday, against Peshawar blasts.─White Star
Protesters stage a sit-in on Sher Shah Suri Road, Peshawar, on Wednesday, against Peshawar blasts.─White Star

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Thursday announced Rs1 million as compensation for each family of the victims of the recent Parachinar bombing attack, which claimed at least 72 lives.

The prime minister also announced Rs0.5 million for each person injured in the blasts, according to a statement issued from the Prime Minister House. The premier has already issued directions to Governor Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Zafar Iqbal Jhagra in this regard, read the statement.

However, protesting tribal elders have rejected the offered compensation, saying that they need to be recognised as human beings first. The compensation was announced six days after the bombing.

A large number of people have been holding a sit-in at Shaheed Park, Parachinar for the last seven days to protest what they see as government inaction after the bombings. Several other protest demonstrations have also been held across the country, seeking justice and compensation for the victims' families.

On Monday, the prime minister had cut short a trip to London to visit Bahawalpur, where 150 people had lost their lives after the spilled fuel they were collecting from an overturned oil tanker caught fire.

The premier had announced government jobs for the injured and the heirs of the deceased, along with Rs1 million in aid for each of those injured and Rs2mn each for the heirs of those killed.

The protesters have been demanding jobs and compensation on a par with what Prime Minister Sharif announced for the people killed in Bahawalpur.

The protesters had also demanded a visit from the army chief and the federal interior minister. The army chief had reportedly attempted to fly to Parachinar, before being forced to turn back due to inclement weather.

Parachinar, with a population of more than 50,000, has been under a strict security quarantine for quite some time. Army and paramilitary personnel have set up checkpoints on all routes leading to the town and visitors and vehicles go through extensive search and identification process.

The twin blasts had occurred in the Turi Market near Tal Adda, where a bus terminal is also located. The explosions targeted people shopping in the area and those heading out of the city ahead of Eid-ul-Fitr, administration officials said.

The second explosion had targeted rescuers and bystanders who rushed to aid those who had been hurt in the first blast.

On March 31 this year, the city had suffered a similar tragedy when 23 people were killed in a car bomb blast near an Imam­bargah at midday. More than 70 others were wounded in the attack. Another person had died later after security forces opened fire on a crowd trying to hold a demonstration in front of the political agent’s office in protest against increasing terrorist attacks.

In January, 25 people were killed and 87 others suffered injuries when a bomb went off during peak business hours at a crowded vegetable market in the city. In what appeared to be a sign of growing cooperation among extremists, two banned groups had come forward to claim the deadly assault, with one describing the incident as a suicide attack.

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