PESHAWAR: Awami National Party (ANP) president Asfandyar Wali Khan has said the wounds of the Army Public School (APS) tragedy were not healed despite the passage of four years and the nation was still mourning the loss of precious lives.
“The murderer of innocent children is now a state guest while the victims still await justice,” he said referring to Ehsanullah Ehsan, the former spokesperson of Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) who is currently in custody of law enforcers.
“The real motives behind the tragedy are yet to be brought to fore,” he said in a message on the eve of fourth anniversary of the APS attack that killed around 150 people, mostly schoolchildren.
The former TTP spokesperson, who was also a top leader of its Jamaat-ul-Ahrar faction, surrendered to the security forces in April, 2017. Later, a petition was filed by Fazal Khan, father of an APS student through Barrister Amirullah Chamkani, highlighting that Ehsan had been under custody for a long time but not presented before any trial court.
In April this year, the Peshawar High Court (PHC) had directed the federal government not to grant clemency to Ehsan.
In his statement today, the ANP chief said that the APS attackers were not even worthy of being called humans. He said that until and unless the terrorist sanctuaries are eliminated, peace and progress cannot be ensured in the country.
Asfandyar also urged the authorities to address the issue of terrorism and extremism with honesty and sincerity and protect the future of the country from being ruined.
“Had the criminals been traced and punished, attacks like the ones in Mardan, Charsadda, Quetta and Peshawar Agriculture University would have been prevented,” said the ANP leader. He maintained that hearts and minds of those who devised the National Action Plan (NAP) did not feel pity for wailing parents of the APS victims.
Despite the formation of a judicial commission after a lapse of four years, he expressed the hope that the commission’s findings will serve to heal wounds of the martyrs’ families. He called for the state to address all reservations of the heirs of the victims and accept their demands.
The ANP chief claimed that the banned outfits were active in the federal capital while the facilitators and helpers of the terrorists were not only roaming across the country armed with weapons but also taking part in national politics.
“Until the policies of good and bad are shunned and maintaining peace becomes the top priority, incidents such as the APS tragedy will keep occurring,” he remarked.
Asfandyar, the son of Wali Khan and grandson of Bacha Khan, maintained that the entire world was in need of applying the philosophy of his grandfather for restoring peace. He claimed that top terrorists were still present in Punjab province, where they collect funds from the platform of banned sectarian outfits to commit acts of terrorism.
“Only a few points of the NAP were implemented while majority of these remained untouched,” he said while holding the federal and provincial governments responsible for the plan’s failure.
“An atmosphere of confidence is building up and if advantage is not taken of the situation then even a larger threat than al Qaeda in the shape of Daesh will confront us. The Islamic State is being funded by 40 countries,” he said.
Asfandyar said that questions on the Haqqani network are yet to be answered and the rulers will have to clarify their position on the issue.