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Targeted killings: move to pay compensation

August 13, 2012

A Pakistani man talks on his mobile as he mourns the death of a relative at a hospital following gunmen attacks in a market in Karachi. – AFP

KARACHI, Aug 12: With no end in sight to targeted killings in the city on ethnic, political and sectarian grounds, the Sindh government has decided to pay compensation to the families of those targeted this year as it did last year, when it paid more than Rs95 million to the heirs of 476 people murdered on these grounds, it emerged on Sunday.

Officials involved in the process and a source privy to the development said a commission constituted last year for the purpose had been mandated to receive claims, check them and finalise a list of deserving families within three months for the payment of compensation.

They said the decision was made after the relevant authorities had a consensus that the families who lost their loved ones this year should also get compensation, as the menace had not yet come to an end.

“The commission is headed by retired Justice Zahid Qurban Alvi, with a senior police officer and a home department officer as part of his team,” said the source citing details of its structure.

“The same commission had recommended the families of 476 victims, who were killed in targeted attacks last year, for compensation. On its recommendation, each family received Rs200,000 in compensation from the government,” the source said.

He said a summary was first sent to the Sindh home department, which approved it after an exchange of communications with relevant institutions and completing formalities. Finally, he added, the Sindh government approved more than Rs95 million to give in compensation to the families of the victims most of whom were assassinated for their association with political parties.

“The process for the payment of compensation has been envisaged the same way it was designed in 2011,” he said.

The Sindh government in November 2011 had set up the commission, which held more than a dozen meetings to finalise its findings by the middle of February 2012.The government decision to continue with the commission service may bring some relief to the victims’ families on the one hand, but it reflects the acknowledgement of the failure on part of the authorities in stopping the brutal trend on the other.“The commission is mandated to complete its job within three months,” the source said, “but like last year the period may be extended, as earlier the commission took more than four months to finalise the list of genuine claimants.”

He explained that the commission received claims from more than 650 families last year, but after proper investigations, 476 people were found murdered under the defined term of targeted killing.

“The list finalised by the commission after an over-three-month exercise recommended compensation for the families of the 476 victims mostly associated with the Muttahida Qaumi Movement, Pakistan People’s Party and Awami National Party. The list also carried the names of Mohajir Qaumi Movement (Haqiqi), Kuchhi Rabita Committee, Sunni Tehreek, Jamaat-i-Islami, Jafria Alliance and Awami Tehreek activists killed in targeted attacks,” he said.