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Children among Pak airstrike victims: Lawmaker

According to Maulana Haroonur Rashid, most of the 80 killed in the airstrike were below 20 years age, with one as small as seven.

india Updated: Nov 06, 2006 13:22 IST

Most of the 80 people killed in the Oct 30 air strike at a seminary in Pakistan's North West Frontier Province were below 20 years age, with one as small as seven, and were all students, a lawmaker has claimed.

According to Maulana Haroonur Rashid, the lawmaker under whose constituency Bajaur, where the killings at a madrassa took place, falls, almost all of those killed were natives of Bajaur and its adjacent districts.

Of the 80 killed, the ages of 79 were confirmed, including their names and addresses.

Rashid gave details of the children killed, including names of their fathers and their home addresses.

The principal of the seminary, Maulana Liaqat Ali, 34, was the eldest among those killed, said Rashid quoting from a list compiled of the victims by local workers of the area.

According to him one of the deceased was only seven-years-old, three were eight, three nine, one was 10, four were 11, four were 12, eight were 13, six were 14, nine were 15, 19 were 16, 12 were 17, three were 18, three were 19 and only two were 21-year old.

Rashid, a member of the National Assembly and vice-president of Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) for tribal areas, is seeking to contradict the government version that Al-Qaeda militants were receiving armed training at the seminary and that weapons and material linking the school to the international outfit were found at the site.

The government has bolstered its claim with the help of video films, shown to select media by un-named high officials.

Western media reports have said that the raid was at the US' instance, on a tip off that Al-Qaeda's number two, Ayman Al-Zawahiri, was hiding in the school.

The government has said that it acted on its own and no foreign aircraft of personnel was involved.

Protest demonstrations have continued in the area since the raid and Rashid's JI, that is part of the Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal (MMA), is spearheading the protests.

Rashid told The News International on Sunday: "We managed to compile a list comprising the ages and addresses of those who fell prey so that we could tell the world that there was no terrorist in the madrassa and no militancy training was going on there."

First Published: Nov 06, 2006 13:22 IST