Tribesmen ask US to compensate families for loss of life and property

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Tribesmen in Jamrud, the main town in Khyber tribal district, hold a grand Jirga (grand tribal council), demanding the US to compensate them for damage to their properties and using their routes as lines of communication. The tribesmen also seek blood money for those who were killed in attacks on NATO supplies. (AN photo)
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A tribal elder addresses tribesmen’s grand Jirga (grand tribal council) in Jamrud, a town in Khyber tribal district, demanding the US to compensate them for damage to their properties and using their routes as lines of communication. The tribesmen also seek blood money for those who were killed in attacks on NATO supplies. (AN photo)
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Tribesmen attend a grand Jirga (grand tribal council) in Jamrud, the main town in Khyber tribal district. The tribesmen demand the US to compensate them for damages to their properties and using their routes as line of communications. They are also seeking blood money for those killed in attacks on NATO supplies. (AN photo)
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A tribesman addresses a grand Jirga (grand tribal council) in Jamrud, the main town in Khyber tribal district. The tribesmen demand the US to compensate them for damage to their properties and using their routes as line of communications. They are also seeking blood money for those killed in attacks on NATO supplies. (AN photo)
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A tribal elder addresses tribesmen’s grand Jirga (grand tribal council) in Jamrud, a town in Khyber tribal district, demanding the US to compensate them for damage to their properties and using their routes as lines of communication. The tribesmen also seek blood money for those who were killed in attacks on NATO supplies. (AN photo)
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A tribal elder addresses tribesmen’s grand Jirga (grand tribal council) in Jamrud, a town in Khyber tribal district, demanding the US to compensate them for damage to their properties and using their routes as lines of communication. The tribesmen also seek blood money for those who were killed in attacks on NATO supplies. (AN photo)
Updated 27 December 2018
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Tribesmen ask US to compensate families for loss of life and property

  • Elders from several districts in Pakistan insist they will continue their fight for legitimate rights
  • Maintain that the region was destroyed after Washington’s invasion of Afghanistan

PESHAWAR: US President Donald Trump’s announcement to withdraw half of his troops from Afghanistan has prompted the tribesmen of a region in Pakistan to seek compensation from Washington for loss of life, damage to property, and for using their land routes as lines of communication.
Several also demanded that the administration pay blood money for those killed in attacks on NATO trucks.
The comments follow US media’s reports which claimed that 7,000 troops, nearly half of those remaining in Afghanistan, could go home within months.
Tribal elders, officials, and members from the youth fraternity attended a grand jirga (tribal council) in Jamrud, the main town in the Khyber tribal district, demanding compensation from the US for the losses incurred in terms of life and property during the past 17 years of the war in Afghanistan.
An enraged Malik Dawood Shah, a tribal elder, told Arab News that the reason for them to seek compensation now was because earlier the tribal people were entangled in a host of problems —  amid a mass exodus of families — due to Pakistan’s military action against insurgents and, therefore, had no time to voice their demands back then.
“We had a pile of issues to deal with during the past several years and had no time to unite or raise our voice. Now as the tribal people are settled or repatriated to their hometowns after years of displacement, we got united and now we will demand our due rights. Let’s not forget that we suffered because of the US supply to Afghanistan,” Shah said.
He added that his fellow tribesmen and elders from all seven districts, formerly known as Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), would launch a massive awareness campaign to unite people for the initiative, for those killed during attacks on NATO convoys or damages done to “our routes and properties”.
However, he added, if the government of Pakistan tried to create hurdles in the seeking of their legitimate rights, then the tribesmen would have “no option but to demand the same from the government of Pakistan”.
“We will go to every extent to get our due rights. Enough is enough. I am even willing to die for this cause, but I will go ahead with my demands,” he said, adding that the next meeting would be held in the Mohmand tribal district to strengthen their alliance.
Several of the elders speaking on the occasion expressed dissatisfaction at the decision to merge FATA with the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) province, demanding a separate province instead. 
“Father of our nation, Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah had promised us that FATA will be a tax-free zone and our culture, norms, and traditions will be protected. However, the government has trampled all those pledges and announced its merger with KP without taking us into confidence,” Malik Salahuddin Afridi, another tribal elder from Khyber tribal district, told Arab News.
Afridi alleged that the entire tribal belt had experienced mayhem and turmoil because of the arrival of US forces in Afghanistan and now it was the responsibility of Washington to clear the mess “it was leaving behind”.
“With the arrival of the US forces, we had an influx of militants. We had our routes and properties damaged and lost hundreds of tribesmen due to the NATO’s supply to Afghanistan. Hence, our demand for compensation is legitimate and we will press for our demands,” Afridi said.
He said that the entire tribal people would be mobilized to build pressure on the US to compensate them for their losses. “We are chalking out our future strategy. We are mulling over whether to close the main route in Khyber leading to the Torkham border or to approach the Supreme Court of Pakistan or any other option to pressure the US to compensate them,” he added.
Malik Bismillah Khan, another tribal elder, said that almost all families had lost at least one family member in the US’ war on terror.
“We firmly believe this time that all stakeholders, specifically the US, want to end the Afghan war because Washington can’t afford to keep on fighting in this conflict. Prior to leaving Afghanistan, we want Washington to compensate tribal people. Or else, we will launch a series of protests in favor of our legitimate demands,” he observed.


Members of Saudi think tank conclude 12-day visit to Pakistan

Updated 24 January 2019
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Members of Saudi think tank conclude 12-day visit to Pakistan

  • The delegation held meetings with Pakistani academics, journalists, businessmen and officials
  • The think tank members were striving for greater academic collaboration between the two states

ISLAMABAD: A delegation of the International Institute for Iranian Studies (Rasanah) wrapped up its 12-day visit to Islamabad on Wednesday.
The three-member delegation included Dr. Mohammed Alsulami, the founding chairman of Rasanah, Ali bin Saeed Awadh Asiri, a former Saudi Ambassador to Pakistan and member of Rasanah’s Board of Trustees, and Bandar Alzamil, a researcher in Political Science at the institute.
During the visit, the delegation held meetings with Pakistani academics, newspaper editors-in-chief, channel managers, businessmen, and government officials.
The delegation also concluded agreements and signed Memorandums of Understanding with the Sustainable Development Policy Institute, the Global Think Tank Network, the Regional Peace Institute, and the University of Sargodha.
The agreements have been designed to improve academic collaboration, develop joint-scholarly exchange programs, and convene joint seminars and conferences on regional and international affairs.
Dr. Alsulami and Ambassador Asiri participated in discussions – open to students and scholars – on Pak-Saudi relations, regional developments, and counterterrorism.
The former Saudi diplomat, who served in Islamabad following from 2001 to 2009, also told Arab News during an interaction that the upcoming visit of the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia to Pakistan next month reflected the importance of the South Asian country for the Kingdom.
He also noted that the two countries needed “to work together to achieve the ambitions of the Saudi leadership which is looking forward to helping Pakistan” through “actions that would benefit the people” on both sides.
Ambassador Asiri also urged the Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry to “move toward Saudi Arabia for economic cooperation” and encourage trade and technological advancement opportunities.
With the objective to boost mutual relationships between the two states, Rasanah will participate in Lahore’s International Book Fair to be held in February 2019.