PESHAWAR: Unhappy with the current monument erected to remember the victims of the December 2014 attack on the Army Public School in Peshawar, the high court has directed the government to remove the structure and replace it with one whose design represents the emotions of the families of the victims.
The order was passed by a two-judge bench of the Peshawar High Court (PHC) comprising Justice Qaiser Rashid Khan and Justice Muhammad Nasir Mehfooz, while hearing a case filed by Fazal Khan who had challenged and declared the structure built in the memory of Army Public School (APS) students as unsuitable for representing the sacrifices of children.
The Peshawar High Court (PHC) on Thursday directed the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government to remove the ‘fibreglass monument’ recently constructed in the memory of the Army Public School (APS) attack victims and design a reasonable structure that represents the emotions of victim families.
The petitioner is the father of Sahibzada Umer Khan, one of the students who, along with dozens of others, was martyred in a terrorist attack on the school on the morning of December 16, 2014.
He told the court that initially a project concept (PC)-I to build the monument had been approved by the competent authority and the government had provided a grant of Rs15 million.
However, the petitioner claimed, when officials of the K-P Archives and Libraries Directorate learnt about the project, they started grinding their own axe.
“Thus, a revised PC-I was initiated and had it approved whereby a meagre sum of Rs6.6 million was shown to be appropriated for the construction of the monument and allied matters. In the revised plan, the purchase of books was introduced for which a hefty amount of Rs8.4 million was allocated,” he added.
The monument was built and placed outside the archive directorate — which has since been renamed as the ‘APS Shuhada Library’, located on Sher Shah Suri road, near the governor house.
“This is regrettable. You just placed a fibreglass sculpture to represent the sacrifice of the APS students,” Justice Qaiser remarked while hearing the case. “You had plenty of money at your disposal to build a structure according to the sentiments of APS attack victim families,” the judge said while pointing to the government officials responsible.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 1st, 2018.