PESHWAR, Nov 7 A total of 4,007 houses were destroyed as collateral damages during the military operation launched in Mehsuds-dominated areas of South Waziristan in January this year, causing a loss of Rs1.32 billion to tribesmen.

An official committee has revealed these figures about the collateral damages in its report. The committee comprised senior officials of the army, intelligence agencies and political administration, militant commanders and elders of the Mehsud tribe.

These collateral damages have occurred in Spinkai Raghzai, Cheg Malai, Nawazkot and Kotkai areas when the army's 14 division launched a full-fledged operation called Zalzala (earthquake) in January against Baitullah Mehsud's supporters.

This was the most severe operation in the tribal region since security forces' offensive against militants in 2004, which had displaced over 200,000 tribesmen.

The committee reported that 4007 houses of the tribesmen had been destroyed and 72 people had been killed in the operation.

Over 60 government school buildings, healthcare centres, telecommunication facilities, electricity and other infrastructure were also damaged in the military action. The army had engaged infantry, artillery, tanks, helicopters and air force in the operation. An official said public sector infrastructure required over Rs300 millions to repair.

After ceasefire in February, an understanding reached between the government and militants to pay compensation to affected people. For this purpose a joint committee was constituted.

The committee submitted its report in May asking the federal government to pay compensation money to tribesmen who either lost their relatives or property. But the compensation amount has not been paid so far.

Fata's additional chief secretary Habibullah Khan told Dawn that three reminders had been dispatched to the federal government to release the amount for onward distribution among the affected families. “Now we will take up the matter with Prime Minister Syed Yousaf Raza Gilani to release the required amount,” he said.

Under the compensation formula devised by the committee, the government would pay Rs300,000 as compensation for each dead and Rs700,000 compensation would be paid to heirs of important figures killed in the operation. A compensation of Rs100,000 would be paid to the seriously wounded and Rs25,000 to those who suffered minor injuries.

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