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Judicial commission starts probe into APS carnage

PESHAWAR: A single-member judicial commission probing the 2014 Army Public School carnage on Monday began in-camera proceedings and recorded statements of three people about the terrorist attack on campus, which had killed 144 people, including 122 students.

Ajoon Khan along with wife Shahana, and Ahmad Ali, whose sons were killed in the attack, recorded statements.

The commission of Justice Mohammad Ibrahim Khan was constituted on Oct 12 by the high court on the order of the Supreme Court.

It summoned few more persons for recording statements today (Tuesday).
Few days ago, the commission had issued a public notice saying any person including the parents and legal heirs of the deceased students and other martyrs having any information about the occurrence or evidence of any sort and wanted to record statement should visit the commission’s secretary so that they could be called.

Over 90 people, mostly parents of the deceased students, approached the commission and will record statements with it.

Ajoon Khan later told reporters that he had submitted 25 written questions to the commission about different aspects of the carnage, especially about ‘negligent’ officials, for consideration.

A bench of the Supreme Court headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan Mian Saqib Nisar has on Oct 5 ordered the formation of a commission of inquiry comprising a judge of the Peshawar High Court for probing the APS incident within six weeks.

Chief Justice of Pakistan Mian Saqib Nisar had taken notice of the issue in April this year during his visit to Peshawar when parents of several deceased APS students had approached him with a request for intervention to address their grievances.

Earlier, the Shuhada Foundation had approached both federal and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa governments for the formation of a judicial commission for probing the carnage, but in vain.

The major demand of the complainants is the fixing of responsibility on the relevant officials for negligence, which led to the killings.

Following the carnage, the parents came to know about a confidential letter through which the National Counter Terrorism Authority had on Aug 28, 2014, informed different provincial and federal authorities that the banned militant outfit, Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan had planned to carry out terrorist activities against the Army Public School and College and other educational institutions run by the Pakistan Army and to kill the maximum number of children of army officers to avenge the killings of their accomplices.

In an application to the chief justice of Pakistan, the Shuhada Forum consisting of the parents of the deceased APS students had said they wanted to know about the steps taken after that confidential communication and about the negligent officials, who didn’t take that ‘Threat Alert’ seriously.

Published in Dawn, October 30th , 2018

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