APS commission report | Pakistan Today

APS commission report

  • Families of victims still awaiting justice

Recently, the judicial report on Army Public School Peshawar (APS) was made public under the order of Supreme Court. Around 150 people, mostly children, were killed in a terrorist attack on APS in 2014.

A one-member judicial commission of Justice Mohammad Ibrahim Khan of Peshawar High Court was established after parents of the victims approached SC in 2018. In its 525-page, the commission has blamed ‘fiasco’ in the security arrangements of the attack. During the probe, the commission interviewed 140 people including parents of APS children, police officers and military officials.

The report read that although NACTA had issued a warning over threat of attack on “all the academic institutions run by the armed forces”, still proper arrangements were not made. The report further stated that the security forces were distracted by terrorists, by putting a vehicle on fire. “The guards’ inaccurate allocation focusing on main gate, left the school vulnerable from the back,” the report said, adding that although rapid response force reacted to the attack, but it could not stop the militants to play havoc in the institution.

According to the report, the attack was expected after successful Zarb-e-Azb and Khyber-I operations by military forces in the tribal areas, but still the concrete measures were not taken. “The forces remained successful in their first goal, but remained unsuccessful in their second mission,” the commission said. It further said had the forces tackled the militants earlier, the devastation could’ve been restricted. However, it praised the “valiant soldiers” of one of the patrol vehicles and armed forces rapid response which restricted the movement of militants towards the adjacent toddlers’ block, which could’ve been resulted in much bigger massacre.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Imran Khan’s National Security Advisor Moeed Yusuf blames India for the attack. “Malik Faridoon, who masterminded APS attack from Jalalabad in 2014 was in touch with handlers at the Indian consulate as 144 Pakistani children were being massacred. He was treated at Delhi hospital in 2017.

In its conclusion, the commission has regretted that once again the lower-ranked officers have been punished for the attack. “Nothing has been asked of the people at the top and this tradition must stop,” the commission said. It further said that although there was a “clandestine and somewhere failing agreement of views of the aggrieved/complainants (parents of victims) relating to the incident … it is most probably because of the communication gap between them and the military which I believe must have abridged in due course of the proceedings before this commission”.

While commenting on the report, Fazal Khan Advocate, President of APS Shuhda Forum said, “APS commission report fails to answer crucial questions why school admin didn’t take measure or inform parents after NECTA threat alert was issued.”

While representing the other parents of APS children, Fazal Khan said that this report has further increased the pain of families of parents of the children. “We wanted Supreme Court to personally head the commission over the incident, but it handed over the issue to Peshawar High Court which appointed a junior judge, who was at 10th number in seniority, as the head of the commission,” the advocate said. “We thought it will reduce our pains, but this report has done the completely opposite,” he asserted.

The judicial report has been completed, submitted and now made public and now the question is what next. The parents of APS children have rejected the report as Fazal Khan Advocate said that this report has further disappointed them.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Imran Khan’s National Security Advisor Moeed Yusuf blames India for the attack. “Malik Faridoon, who masterminded APS attack from Jalalabad in 2014 was in touch with handlers at the Indian consulate as 144 Pakistani children were being massacred. He was treated at Delhi hospital in 2017. We have phone records of eight calls,” Yusuf said. The NSA further said that Pakistan has strong evidence of Indian involvement in terrorist activities in Pakistan.

Experts however point to the questions surrounding Ehsanullah Ehsan, the former spokesperson of TTP. After the attack TTP accepted the responsibility. Later, Ehsan was arrested by security forces, kept under custody without any legal action against him. He was declared as a witness, which was strongly opposed by the families of APS children. Later, Ehsan escaped which outraged the parents of the victims, because a leader of the TTP was in custody of the state, but still nothing was done against him.

The judicial report has been completed, submitted and now made public and now the question is what next. The parents of APS children have rejected the report as Fazal Khan Advocate said that this report has further disappointed them.

Questions continue to surround the report. Will the government launch another investigation on this matter? Will the parents of APS children again move the top court? Will there be another commission? Will the top leadership of security institutions take the responsibility of the attack?

Most of these questions will remain unanswered as the APS children’s families continue to seek justice.



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