Macedonia killings: Pakistani relatives seek compensation
* Macedonia committed heinous crime, says Rashid
ISLAMABAD: Relatives of six Pakistanis allegedly executed by police in Macedonia two years ago in an effort to impress the United States vowed on Sunday to take legal action against the Macedonian government.
Macedonian officials acknowledged on Friday their special forces had gunned down an Indian and six Pakistani immigrants in March 2002 to show the world the former Yugoslav republic was doing its part in the US-led “war on terror”. Ansar Burney, a lawyer and head of the Ansar Burney Welfare Trust International, a civil rights group which has campaigned on behalf of the victims’ families, said he was preparing to file a suit in the International Court of Justice in The Hague, seeking US$2 million in damages for each family.
Relatives of the victims vowed on Sunday to take legal action against the Macedonian government. “We will sue the government for US$12 million,” Mr Burney said. “They were just economic migrants passing through Macedonia illegally to reach some European country to earn money for their poor families.” Information Minister Sheikh Rashid said, “This is the most heinous crime committed by the Macedonian authorities. We are demanding compensation and will also see that justice is done in this case,” Information Minister Sheikh Rashid said.“Pakistan had been saying throughout that they were innocent immigrants, not terrorists. It has now been admitted by the Macedonian authorities as well,” Sheikh Rashid said. “This confession has vindicated our position and now we have right to demand compensation, though at this stage I can’t say how much.”
Foreign Office Spokesman Masood Khan said, “This was a hideous and condemnable crime. This crime is even more shocking and heinous because these murders were pre-meditated and were committed to spruce up Macedonia’s image as an ally in the war against terrorism. —Agencies