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PAKISTAN: Security Forces Must Investigate Incidents of Civilian Harm and Make Amends
WASHINGTON - March 23 - The possible deaths of two civilians caused last week by Pakistani
security forces highlights the need for Pakistan to thoroughly
investigate all claims of civilian harm and offer apologies and
compensation if appropriate, the Campaign for Innocent Victims of
Conflict said today.
"Combat operations in Pakistan have been ongoing without any proper way to investigate civilian harm or make amends for casualties," said Sarah Holewinski, executive director of CIVIC. "It's time Pakistan shows its concern for the civilian population."
In the latest incident, the two civilian casualties reportedly occurred when Pakistani security forces fired at two passenger buses traveling after a military-imposed curfew in Darra Adamkhel in Northwest Pakistan. According to media reports, officials said the drivers were probably unaware of the curfew imposed earlier that day. The incident underscores the danger to civilians in and around Orakzai Agency where fighting in recent months between the Pakistani Military and militants has displaced over 150,000 people.
CIVIC noted that the civilian population expects greater responsibility to be taken for civilian casualties. In December, a Pakistani military airstrike in Orakzai allegedly killed at least 10 civilians, including four women and five children. Hundreds of residents protested that incident and demanded the government provide financial assistance to the survivors.
"By ignoring the vast majority of civilian harm, the Pakistani military is compounding suffering in the population and fueling distrust of military operations," Holewinski said. "The equation is simple-protect civilians, investigate harm and make amends when harm occurs."