Rifaqatullah Razarwal

PESHAWAR: The Peshawar High Court (PHC) has directed the federal government to submit a report about landmine blasts in merged tribal districts, particularly in South Waziristan, within three weeks.

Five lawyers from merged districts have approached the court with a petition to order the federal and provincial governments to take steps for clearing landmines from these areas and compensate the affected families.

A two-member bench of the PHC headed by Chief Justice Qaiser Rashid heard the case.

A petitioner, Sajjad Ahmed Advocate, said while talking to TNN that the petition has requested compensation for victim families of landmine blasts and running awareness campaigns in this regard through seminars and workshops. He said according to his information, about 800 people have lost lives in 178 landmine blasts in merged districts during the last 13 years. He said 250 children were rendered disabled, 77 lost eyesight in such incidents, while about 4,000 cattle have also been killed.

Sajjad Ahmed said a large number of children have been deprived of education due to landmine blast. He said the children who were disabled in such blasts cannot scale mountains to reach their schools.

“When we were returning to our areas after life of displacement, we were told that the entire area is clear, but such incidents have increased during the last three years. Whenever there is a function or gathering like Eid, wedding etc, someone is trapped in landmine, and the happy occasion turns into one of grief and sorrow,” he said.

Sajjad Ahmed said the government should treat all the victims of landmine blasts equally and all must be compensated without any discrimination. He said the victims of landmine blasts in South Waziristan must be compensated similarly like the disaster victims of Punjab and Balochistan. He said no first information report (FIR) of landmine blasts is lodged by police, and the hospital staff also doesn’t register the patients.

The petitioners have made Secretary Interior, Secretary Defence, KP Chief Secretary, Director General National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA), Inspector General Frontier Corps (FC), KP Inspector General Police, district police officers of seven merged districts and deputy commissioner South Waziristan as parties to the petition.

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