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Govt bound to pay diyyat in Tirah bombing case: court

December 21, 2012

PESHAWAR, Dec 20: A Peshawar High Court bench on Thursday observed that the federal government was bound to pay diyyat (blood money) to legal heirs of over 60 people killed in the 2010 Pakistan Air Force bombing of Tirah Valley, Khyber Agency.

However, Chief Justice Dost Mohammad Khan and Justice Waqar Ahmad Seth gave more time to the counsel for the federal government and the political agent of Khyber Agency for consultation with the relevant authorities on the matter.

The chief justice observed that the killing of the innocent citizens amounted to unintentional murder and under Section 320 of Pakistan Penal Code, the state was to pay diyyat, which totaled over one million rupees at that time.

The bench was hearing a petition filed by Qabal Shah and several other inhabitants of the said area, who said PAF jetfighters had bombed Sra Vella village in Tirah Valley on April 10, 2010, killing 61 people and damaging public property.

The petitioner said the government had announced the payment of proper compensation to the legal heirs of bombing victims and to the injured but instead gave them a small amount of money.

The counsel appearing for the political agent of Khyber Agency said the PAF air strikes were carried out against militant hideouts but mistakenly, non-combatants were hit.

He said in light of the report submitted by a six-member committee, the federal government had paid Rs18 million compensation, while the political agent had paid Rs100,000 for each killed person and Rs50,000 each to the injured.

The chief justice observed that none of the laws in the country was superior to Quran and Sunnah and the amount of diyyat and circumstances in which it should be paid were clearly described in the Holy Quran. He asked when Raymond Davis could pay diyyat for his release, then why the government couldn’t pay the same for the killing of innocent people.

The counsel for federal government and that of the political administration requested the bench for some time for consultation with their respective clients on the issue.

The bench allowed them more time with the direction that they should come up with clear stance on the issue so that the court should pass an appropriate order.

PETITION DISMISSED: The bench dismissed a writ petition filed on behalf of Movement for Rehabilitation and Restoration of Historical Gardens and Places requesting the court to order restoration of the tomb of former Kabul governor Nawab Said Khan in Dabgari Garden area.

The tomb was allegedly converted into a church and Mission Hospital during colonial era.