SC orders to make APS judicial commission report public

Hearing adjourned for a month, CJP says prosecution should start with 'people in power'


Hasnaat Malik September 25, 2020
ISLAMABAD:

The Supreme Court (SC) on Friday ordered the relevant authorities to make public the judicial commission's report on the Army Public School attack of 2014.

The commission’s 3,000-page report contains the statements of 132 people, including 101 witnesses, 31 policemen, Pakistan Army personnel and other officers, apart from that of the parents.

Former chief justice of Pakistan Mian Saqib Nisar had formed the commission in 2018 on the request of the martyred children’s parents to investigate the APS tragedy.

Presiding the hearing today, Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Gulzar Ahmed, also ordered to make public the attorney general's comments on the report. The hearing was also attended by the parents of the martyred children. 

Commenting on the case and subsequent action taken against the perpetrators of the heinous act, the attorney general assured the court that "every possible action is being taken against those responsible for the incident".

The chief justice said that the prosecution should start with the "people in power" and strict action should be taken by the government against those responsible to ensure such a tragedy is not repeated in the future. 

He also asked for names on "whose negligence" the incident occurred and said that those who did not provide intelligence in a timely matter "should be known". 

“Even with such security the people are not safe,” the CJP added.

Justice Ijaz-ul-Ahsan, a member of the SC bench hearing the case, said the tragedy was a matter of "great sorrow for the entire nation" and parents of the martyred children should be aided. 

During the proceedings, the parents implored the bench to ensure such a tragedy does not occur again in the country and they understand that their children will not come back to them. 

“This incident was not terrorism but targeted killing,” the parents stated. “Children were gathered in a hall according to a plan. Those in power should be held accountable, only then its effect would transcend to people serving under them.”

Justice Faisal Arab assured parents that a case would be made against those responsible for security negligence.

The apex court also appointed Amanullah Kanrani as a judicial assistant and adjourned the hearing of the case for a month. It also ordered to provide copies of the judicial commission report to the parents.

The SC resumed the suo motu hearing of the 2014 APS attack earlier in August during which CJP Gulzar assured the parents of the martyred children that those responsible for the tragedy would not be spared.

During the last hearing of the case, the SC had instructed the AGP to take instructions from the federal government on the judicial commission report.

The attack on the Army Public School in 2014 shook the nation to its core. The militant assault December 16, 2014, martyred more than 145, most of them school students. 

The methodical slaughter that unfolded not only paralysed Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) but all of Pakistan. Across Peshawar, mosques filled with mourners carrying small coffins and wailing family members became a common sight. The city was living its worst nightmare, its worst tragedy. While the city and the country won its battle against terrorism shortly after the APS attack, many are still reeling - mostly emotionally.

Soon after the attack, national consensus was achieved and the National Action Plan (NAP) was drafted to curb the rampant spread of terrorism in the country. The military, in successive campaigns, wrestled back control of areas in erstwhile Fata which had become a hotbed of militant activity. 

 

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