Islamabad - A report launched by an Islamabad-based legal advocacy group in collaboration with London-based legal-aid charity yesterday demanded compensation for the victims of US drone strikes in Pakistan.

The report titled ‘International Failure to Redress Pakistani Victims of US Drone Strikes’ was launched by Foundation for Fundamental Rights (FFR) in collaboration with London based Reprieve here at a local hotel.

Several prominent figures including Chairman Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf Imran Khan, British human rights lawyer and founder of Reprieve Clive Stafford Smith (Reprieve), the director of FFR and lawyer Mirza Shahzad Akbar, besides others, attended the event.

The report builds a case for reparations to the civilian victims of US-led drone strikes under domestic and international law. Using several new, previously un-reported case studies of civilians who have been killed by drones, the study argues that the primary duty for compensation belongs to the Pakistani state.

To address it, it recommended that the Pakistani government should seek compensation from the United States under international law.

Imran Khan speaking on the occasions said that PTI would raise the issue of compensation of drone victims before the Parliament. He said that the names of those killed in such strikes were never revealed publicly.

“It is shameful that we don’t speak against injustice,” he said. He also criticised Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan for his ministry’s policy not to accept Pakistani deportees without verification of their citizenship.

Director FFR Mirza Shahzad Akbar said, “Follies of the drone strikes are countless and from their inception these had targeted civilians and this still continues.” What is most inexcusable is the lack of acknowledgment of Pakistani civilian victims and existence and lack of any compensation paid to them. It is time for our government to take not only immediate steps to redress the civilian victims but also seek reparation on their behalf form the US, he said.

The report narrates one of the new cases of civilian casualties in drone attacks from 2014 and says about Lambhay who was injured in a drone strike in area of Shawal in North Waziristan a few days after Eid-ul-Azha where two locals namely Saladin and Rehman Gull died in the strike.

Clive Stafford Smith said, “As an American, I have to admit that it is a longstanding problem that we do not recognise our mistakes, apologise and do what we can to compensate innocent victims. This report reflects in stark terms the fact that we value Pakistani life at zero, a situation that is offensive and simply cannot continue.

I therefore call upon my own government to compensate those innocent people caught in America’s cross-fire.”

The report brings attention to the fact that the only time President Obama has accepted deaths from drone strikes in Pakistan was in 2015 when a drone strike killed an American and an Italian. That incident remains the only time the American President apologized for the loss of civilian life and promised a full investigation into the matter.

It highlights examples of other jurisdictions where US, and home governments, have paid compensation in Yemen, Iraq and in Afghanistan, the US has paid tens of thousands of dollars, sometimes publicly and sometimes secretly, to drone victims.

While the US government has set up a 40 million Dollars Pakistani Civilian Assistance Fund (PCAF) modelled after funds in Iraq and Afghanistan, there is no evidence that any of the fund money has reached civilian victims of US drone strikes, it says.