PESHAWAR: Protesting tribal elders have rejected the compensation offered by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to the families of Parachinar bombing victims, saying that they needed to be recognised as human beings first. Six days after the bombing, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif announced Rs 1 million as compensation for each family of the victims of the recent Parachinar attack, which claimed at least 72 lives. The prime minister also announced Rs 0.5 million for each person injured in the blasts, according to a statement issued from the Prime Minister’s House. The premier has already issued directives to Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Governor Zafar Iqbal Jhagra in this regard, read the statement. While expressing his deep sympathies with the members of the bereaved families, the governor had said that the monetary compensation was just a token of deeply realised feelings on part of the government and could never be an alternative to the precious lives lost in the tragic incidences. “We fully share the feelings of the affected families and assure them of extending every possible support and cooperation in the future as well,” the governor said in a press statement issued by the Governor’s House. “We have to carry forward the war against terrorism jointly and would defeat the terrorists through joint efforts of the Pakistan Army and the people.” A large number of people have been holding a sit-in at Shaheed Park, Parachinar, for the last seven days to protest what they see as the government’s inaction after the bombings. Several other protest demonstrations have also been held across the country, seeking justice and compensation for the victims’ families. On Monday, the prime minister had cut short a trip to London to visit Bahawalpur, where 150 people had lost their lives after the spilled fuel they were collecting from an overturned oil tanker caught fire. The premier had announced government jobs for the injured and the heirs of the deceased, along with Rs 1 million in aid for each of those injured and Rs 2 million each for the heirs of those killed. The protesters in Parachinar have been demanding jobs and compensation on a par with what Prime Minister Sharif announced for the people killed in Bahawalpur. The protesters had also demanded a visit from the army chief and the federal interior minister. The army chief had reportedly attempted to fly to Parachinar, before being forced to turn back due to inclement weather. Parachinar, with a population of more than 50,000, has been under strict security quarantine for quite some time. Army and paramilitary personnel have set up checkpoints on all routes leading to the town, and visitors and vehicles go through extensive search and identification process. The twin blasts had occurred in the Turi Market near Tal Adda, where a bus terminal is also located. The explosions targeted people shopping in the area and those heading out of the city ahead of Eidul Fitr, administration officials said. The second explosion had targeted rescuers and bystanders who rushed to aid those who had been hurt in the first blast. On March 31 this year, the city had suffered a similar tragedy when 23 people were killed in a car bomb blast near an Imambargah at midday. More than 70 others were wounded in the attack. Another person had died later after security forces opened fire on a crowd trying to hold a demonstration in front of the political agent’s office in protest against increasing terrorist attacks. In January, at least 25 people were killed and 87 others suffered injuries when a bomb went off during peak business hours at a crowded vegetable market in the city. In what appeared to be a sign of growing cooperation among extremists, two banned groups had come forward to claim the deadly assault, with one describing the incident as a suicide attack. Published in Daily Times, June 30th, 2017.