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Targeted killings: 550 claims filed by heirs for compensation

October 06, 2012

KARACHI, Oct 6: The Sindh government has received compensation claims from 550 families who lost their loved ones to targeted killings on ethnic, political or sectarian grounds in the first half of 2012, it emerged on Saturday.

It was also found that most of the victims were activists of ruling coalition parties.

The claims have been received by the commission set up last year by the Sindh government for compensating the families of targeted killing victims. Officials privy to the commission’s working said that 550 claims have been received for the killings which took place from January to June.

“The commission, headed by retired Justice Zahid Qurban Alvi, has forwarded all the claims to the police for scrutiny,” said an official. “Most of the claims were filed by families of activists from different political parties, with most of them associated with the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM), Awami National Party (ANP) and the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP).”

The six other parties which also came up with compensation claims for their slain workers include the Awami Tehreek, Jafria Alliance, Jamaat-i-Islami, Sunni Tehreek, Mohajir Qaumi Movement (Haqiqi) and a community-based group of Lyari and the Kutchhi Rabita Committee, he added.

With no end to killings in sight, 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 who fell prey to targeted killing.

“The commission had recommended the families of 476 victims last year for compensation,” the source said. “Thus, each family received Rs200,000 as compensation from the government.”

This year as well, the government has approved a sum of more than Rs95 million to be paid as compensation money. “The process for the payment of compensation has been envisaged like that in 2011,” he said.

The commission had been set up in November 2011 and after about a dozen meetings was able to finalise its findings by February 2012. The government’s decision to keep the commission working might help the families cope with grief, but it also reflects the acknowledgement of failure by the authorities who were unable to stop the bloodshed.

“The commission is mandated to complete its job within three months,” said the official, “But like last year, the deadline might be extended.” The last year’s commission took more than four months to finalise the list of genuine claimants.

The official explained that the commission received claims from more than 650 families last year, but after investigating them, 476 out of the total 650 were found to have been murdered under the definition of a targeted killing.

“It’s an ongoing process,” said the official about receiving claims from families, adding that, “The commission would keep accommodating families with the passage of time and there is no deadline for it. The government is willing to pay compensation to every family who lost their loved ones in 2012. The list of 550 people only reflects the data of the first six months.”