Sour note: Chants of ‘Go Imran, Go’ greet PTI chief at APS

Published: January 15, 2015
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APS students take pictures of Imran Khan. PHOTO: EXPRESS

APS students take pictures of Imran Khan. PHOTO: EXPRESS

Parents of martyred students protests outside APS . PHOTO: EXPRESS APS students take pictures of Imran Khan. PHOTO: EXPRESS
PESHAWAR: 

Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan and his wife Reham Khan’s visit to the Army Public School (APS) in Peshawar on Wednesday turned less than cordial when a group of parents of children killed in the December 16 massacre at the school protested the PTI chief’s presence.

Imran, his wife and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Chief Minister Pervez Khattak were met with slogans of ‘Go Imran Go’ and ‘Go Khattak Go’ as they arrived at the school on the third day of classes since the school was targeted by Taliban gunmen. However, once they entered the school, students thronged to meet the PTI chief.

The Taliban rampage left 150 people – including 132 children – dead and 130 injured. Earlier on Wednesday, Reham Khan tweeted, “We are in Peshawar today to salute the spirit of APS and encourage our children to return to school.”

Prior to the PTI convoy’s arrival, the IG police visited the APS and declared the area cleared for the visit. However, the PTI chairman’s convoy was met by a group of parents holding banners and posters outside the school. “Imran Khan was busy with his wedding ceremony while we were weeping for our children,” cried one mother.

A scuffle broke out amongst the protesters and security officials and the PTI chairman was forced to enter the APS via a backdoor entrance. Here, he was warmly welcomed by students as they gathered to meet him and his wife.

Outside the school, angry parents threatened to hold demonstrations against political leaders after the chehlum of their deceased children. “We do not need Imran Khan or Nawaz Sharif or any other political leader. We want justice and revenge for our martyred children,” said one man. “No one will be allowed to play politics over the blood of our innocent children. We made a huge mistake giving votes to Imran Khan and his party.”

Some parents criticised CM Khattak and K-P Assembly Speaker Asad Qaiser, saying they ‘abused’ the protesters, an accusation the party denied via social media.

In a press conference held after the visit, the PTI chief stated, “I visited the APS to boost the morale of students but in fact their spirit encouraged me. I do not understand the purpose of the protest against me. I am the PTI chief and Pervez Khattak is the CM but the school is being run by the army.”

Following the incident, PTI officials tweeted that Imran would ‘expose those’ responsible for the protests. The party’s official account quoted K-P Minister for Higher Education and Information Mushtaq Ghani accusing the government of foul play, stating, “The PTI condemns the childish act by federal PML-N-led government to sabotage Imran Khan’s visit to Peshawar.”

Echoing the statements of some party leaders at the press conference, Imran said some of the parents outside the school appeared to be ‘political workers’. However, he added, “I understand the feelings of those parents who have lost their children.”

Parents respond to PTI

At a news conference held at a local hotel on Wednesday, those gathered outside the APS during Imran’s visit – including Abid Raza Bangash, father of martyred Rafiq Raza Bangash, Dr Farooq Shah Afridi, father of Mobeen Shah Afridi, Akhoon Khan, father of Afsar Shah, Ahmad Ali, father of Muhammad Ozar Ali and Sarwar Khan, father of Ali Khan – denied that they had been goaded on by any political party.

“We have formed an association, the Shaheed Peshawar Association, which has no political affiliation, and we gathered outside the APS to ask the PTI chairman who is responsible for our children’s deaths,” said Bangash. “If any political party or group is not found to be involved in our protest, then K-P Information Minister Mushtaq Ahmad Ghani should resign for suggesting this.”

Bangash demanded that Ghani, SSP Operation and DC Peshawar immediately resign from their posts. “If this is the change the PTI promised us in the elections then this nation will see more incidents like the attack on the APS in the future,” he added.

Published in The Express Tribune, January 15th, 2015.

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Reader Comments (30)

  • Saleem
    Jan 15, 2015 - 3:15AM

    I am not at all surprised at response of angry parents who have hoped to see these politicians lot earlier. At least Imran Khan has guts to show up, Nawaz Sharif still has made his way there.

    I am also appalled to see Imran Khan’s motorcade. That reminded me famous motorcades of Yousaf Raza Giliani and Hamaza Shabaz. When will these politicians will learn to follow themselves what they preach to others. Wouldn’t all this show has added insult to injuries of APS angry parents who were at APS?

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  • hasan
    Jan 15, 2015 - 3:22AM

    ITS YOUR GOVERNMENT!! the school is run by army but security of surrounding area is your responsibilty Imran khan

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  • Malveros
    Jan 15, 2015 - 3:24AM

    What goes around comes around. Didn’t IK make the claim on D-Chowk that if he ever heard GO IMRAN GO slogan in KPK he would immediately resign.

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  • Jan 15, 2015 - 3:30AM

    Imran khan idiot, visiting school with huge protocol after 30 dayz… Naya Pakistan.
    Tabdeli a nin rahi, Tabdeli a gie h.

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  • Fahad
    Jan 15, 2015 - 3:33AM

    Three news on this in 1 day, is this the most important event of the day to tribune, I guess it is since Imran khan is on the receiving end.

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  • Fahad
    Jan 15, 2015 - 3:49AM

    At the same time, it is the parent’s right to protest and raise their voice in front of whom so ever for proper solution to avoid such tragic incidents. Everyone should honor and respect that.

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  • Ch. Allah Daad
    Jan 15, 2015 - 4:27AM

    Kids like him but as they grow older and come to know realities of life only then they would know how stupid they were in younger years.

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  • HZ
    Jan 15, 2015 - 4:50AM

    I still fail to understand how is Imran Khan responsible for the attack? I understand his marriage timing was aweful but blaming Imran Khan for the incident is just baseless keeping in mind its an ARMY SCHOOL.

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  • Jibran
    Jan 15, 2015 - 5:16AM

    Imran is a callous person with no sympathies for the victims.
    1. He, his party office holders and the provincial ministers refused to attend the funerals of PTI MPAs killed by TTP.
    2. He squarely blamed BB for her own death in his article in the foreign press.
    3. He continued to support and provide moral justification to TTP.
    4. In Banu jail break, scores of inmates were killed only because of their names. Yet, PTI government was unmoved.

    How can we trust that now he is any different. Traveling in a caravan of 20 vehicles, despite being just an ordinary MNA, does not make him more credible.

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  • Rahi
    Jan 15, 2015 - 5:24AM

    Go Imran Go! What did he expect? He came to the school showing off his new wife in a royal convoy of 21 cars to do what? Rubbing salt on the wounds of common citizens of Peshawar? He should have been pelted with eggs and tomatoes. People who supported him whole heartedly will now hound him out of the politics.

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  • Zaida Parvez
    Jan 15, 2015 - 5:50AM

    Poetic justice !! The most fulfilling news I have read in a long time.

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  • Jan 15, 2015 - 6:16AM

    No problem!
    We, as a nation, are in a mourning, even if PTI is hooted upon, we’ll take the criticism gracefully and will try to rectify our mistakes.
    Claims of Imran celebrating his marriage are exaggerated. There was no function. Just a meal at a madrassa.

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  • Nabeel Malik
    Jan 15, 2015 - 7:19AM

    Go Imran Go

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  • Saima
    Jan 15, 2015 - 7:21AM

    Imran Khan deserves this treatment.
    He is a selfish man.

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  • n
    Jan 15, 2015 - 7:24AM

    What are you talking about? He delivered a speech standing in the middle of the entire school amidst loud chants of “Ayi ayi PTI” and “Go Nawaz Go”
    Go ahead and censor my comment ET just because it is pro PTI.

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  • Asad
    Jan 15, 2015 - 9:44AM

    IK went there to boost morale of children in school, which he did. Rest was all political stuff, if states biggest security institution couldn’t do anything to prevent the attack what is point of chanting anti-IK slogans ?
    We respect feeling of those who lost their children but it is not a good idea to make a controversy on this issue. If somebody comes to mourn, accept it above your political affiliations. This is no topic for politics.

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  • Aimal
    Jan 15, 2015 - 9:45AM

    Protest is the right of the grief parents. They lost every thing. they deserve a proper treatment. Held Imran Responsible for every thing is not fair. we must think and think seriously that if there is an alternate of Imran Khan exist it is our right to kick him off but if not than it is our duty to strengthen him…. we all know that he is alone and mafia is united against him. They will not spoil any opportunity against him. we must remember that he is not Mr. Perfect.

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  • Igloo
    Jan 15, 2015 - 9:55AM

    If 1 person shouts slogans against IK and 100 support him, ET and other Pakistani media outlets will only show that one person and completely ignore the rest.

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  • Asad
    Jan 15, 2015 - 10:26AM

    Claims of Imran celebrating his marriage are exaggerated. There was no function. Just a meal at a madrassa.
    LOL you can’t fool the whole nation anymore.these politicians only care for themselves.Mr. Khan is still in denial as he always is.
    tabdeeli aa nahee rahi tabdeeli a chuki haiLOL

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  • Adnan Siddiqi
    Jan 15, 2015 - 11:07AM

    a) I’m just a party chief & don’t understand why parents are protesting
    b) I was hurt and lying on a bed. How do I know if rigging took place or not. People told me that rigging took place
    c) Embarrassment? What kind of embarrassment? I am only sorry for what happened. I and KPK government have no powers

    Had Alfred Hitchcock been alive today, IK would have been his perfect case study on bipolar disorder. IK’s sole objective of yesterday’s visit to formally introduce his nai nawalee dulhan to the world and stir a media spectacle. Whoever advised such a nonsensical political move has precipitated IK’s political demise.

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  • Adnan Siddiqi
    Jan 15, 2015 - 11:18AM

    Time to walk the walk and talk the talk….Shair bano Shair Kaptaan! & please don’t feign ignorance whenever you are in a tight spot. You come across as complete idiot. Now be a man and fire your CM who not only sat on the Interior Ministry alert from 28th August but also pushed, kicked and shouted expletives on the grieving parents.

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  • Qaseem
    Jan 15, 2015 - 11:30AM

    Allah bless Pakistan
    Go Imran Go.

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  • Asad
    Jan 15, 2015 - 12:53PM

    @Adnan Siddiqi:
    Then then whole of the nation would have been a case study for this disorder. Those who condemn yesterdays manhandling of parents of died children, praise bullets being fired upon victims of model town incident infront of parliament where they were demanding justice.
    Those who condemn Imran for suggesting a peaceful solution to end fight in Pakistan support those who in past have said thay they and taliban have similar point of view.
    Frankly speaking we as a nation don’t have bipolar disorder but we live in a boundry of political affiliation. If I support IK, I will find every mean to justify his acts as if he is an angel but if I support ANP or PMLN, I will create an issue even if IK comes to mourn death of my child.

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  • MAD
    Jan 15, 2015 - 1:16PM

    police high handedness was uncalled for. Even if the large protocol was due to ministers joining in thats still wrong. Mushtaq Ghanis hasty press conference was unneccessary. Imran Khan spending time on elkectoral rigging on his press conference was not needed on that day (could be said later) But saying Imran Khan visited after a month is wrong in so many senses. Imran Khan was in Peshawer on December 16 when he met injured and parents. He was in peshawer to attend APC also oferring namaz e janazah. he was in Peshawer on December 22 when he visited the APS and met parents and listened to their complaints and criticsms as well as visiting house of slain principle.. Why are you putting up false accusations.

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  • F Khan
    Jan 15, 2015 - 2:20PM

    I doubt IK will make to the PM House in 2018 even.

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  • Mr. Rationale
    Jan 15, 2015 - 2:30PM

    We, as a nation, are in constant self-denial. However, our so-called leaders, IK included, are in much severe case of denial we can ever be. Issue of terrorism is more than real and still everyone denies that such issue even exists. I voted for PTI candidate in 2013 elections because PTI was the lesser evil when compared to other parties. I was susceptible of IK stance on terrorism but I hoped that he was soft on terrorism issue only because of tremendous amount of terror apologists present in Pak and he will deal with the issue of terrorism with iron hand (come on! he is a graduate of Oxford and he has spent chunk of his life outside Pak observing western countries’ humane values) when voted into power but Alas! he turned out to be just another 3rd class politician who would do anything to remain in power or to obtain power even go as far as to further confuse the masses on existential matter such as terrorism and extremism.
    Pakistan is full of educated illiterates and Imran Khan is one of them.
    Verdict: Go everyone Go. Let the sanity come.

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  • zaman
    Jan 15, 2015 - 6:02PM

    @Asad:
    @Mr. Rationale:
    @Fahad:
    we as PAKISTANIS are all to blame for the Peshawar Massacre, the Model Town Massacre and the ever rising deathtoll, the slow Tharparker annihilation of its children. We are in a state of total denial and are somewhat proud of our leadership,military and civil in running our affairs via our under performing institutions and our begging bowl leaders, AND we also have racial tendencies

    The French Leadership did not wait to pass bills, all their strong institutions scrambled to red alert within hours if not minutes of their tragedy to protect their Awaam; CONTRAST this with the Pakistan’s National Action Plan, the government is still making commities and talking about it a month on, where is the resolve of the Federal Government

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  • Muhammad Talha
    Jan 15, 2015 - 6:40PM

    As a reference to this comment i did vote for PTI in 2013, because it represented “hope”, something which all Pakistanis crave for.
    What PTI has DONE?
    1) The timing of Imran Khan’s wedding was undoubtedly very poor. With that showing up in a motorcade of over 20 vehicles with full protocol does not represent standing “beside the grieved”, it shows “standing separately”.
    2) The actions of the PTI have been dismal since the APS attack. The party leader and Pervez Khattak should have taken a stance for the constitutional amendment rather than just giving a silent support.
    3) Imran Khan does not have the right (if he still upholds the principles he says he stands for namely “disregard for personal gains”) to keep the Chief Minister out of his province and pull him into protests. KPK needs the government it voted for.
    4) The budget drafted by the KPK government was very ambitious however its execution till now has been poor.
    I believe that KPK really needs to work hard and WALK THE TALK.
    I hope and pray that we see some concrete steps in 2015 for a better KPK and a better Pakistan. INSHA’ALLAH.

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  • Shams
    Jan 16, 2015 - 9:39AM

    Am surprise to read most of the comments about imrans visit to School ,
    Its wrong for political Leaders to score photo Shooting Of the Tragedidy ,but people also forgotten about the killing of innocent pat worker Not much said about that.
    How odd
    WELL I ALSO THINK IT’S GOODS TO CONSUL WITH WIT VICTIM
    WELL DONE

    IMRAN

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  • Waheed
    Jan 19, 2015 - 8:34PM

    I am not at all surprised at response of angry parents who have hoped to see these politicians lot earlier. At least Imran Khan has guts to show up, Nawaz Sharif still has made his way there.
    I am also appalled to see Imran Khan’s motorcade. That reminded me famous motorcades of Shehbaz Sharif and Hamaza Shabaz. When will these politicians will learn to follow themselves what they preach to others. Wouldn’t all this show has added insult to injuries of APS angry parents who were at APS?

    Recommend

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