Islamabad, September 25
Pakistan’s Supreme Court on Friday ordered the government to make public the judicial commission’s report on the 2014 Peshawar school attack.
Taliban militants stormed the Army Public School (APS) in the northwestern city of Peshawar on December 16, 2014, killing at least 150 people, including 131 students.
A two-judge bench headed by Chief Justice Gulzar Ahmed heard the case based on a suo motu notice taken on complaints of the parents of the children killed in the terror attack. The parents alleged that the real culprits involved in the gruesome incident had not yet been arrested by authorities.
Former chief justice Mian Saqib Nisar had formed the commission in 2018 on the request of the parents to investigate the tragedy. The inquiry commission was headed by Peshawar High Court judge Justice Ishtiaq Ibrahim Khan.
The one-member commission on July 9 submitted its report to the apex court. The report contains the statements of 132 people, including 101 witnesses, 31 policemen, Pakistan Army personnel and other officers, apart from that of the parents.
Presiding the hearing, Chief Justice Ahmed ordered the government to make public the attorney general’s comments on the report.
The court ordered that a copy of the inquiry commission’s report and of the government’s response be provided to the parents of the APS victims. It also appointed lawyer Amanullah Kanrani as amicus curiae in the case.
The hearing of the case was adjourned for a month.
The 525-page document provides an insight into the security lapses and local facilitation to militants that apparently led to the horrific attack.
It said the entry of terrorists from across the Afghan border into the school’s perimeter after “befooling the security apparatus” was mainly due to the porous nature of the border and “unrestrained movement” of Afghan refugees across the frontier.
Noting that the militants were provided assistance by the residents of the school’s locality, the report said it was a “palpable” and “unpardonable” crime.
“When one’s own blood and flesh commit treachery and betrayal, the result would always be devastating,” it said.
The report detailed how the terrorists set a vehicle near the school to attract the security patrol present near the school and entered from the rear side to launch the attack. It pointed out that the security guards present in the school were not properly positioned.
The report acknowledged that terrorism in Pakistan had reached its peak in 2013-14, but it “doesn’t obligate us to hold that our sensitive installation(s) and soft target(s) could be forsaken as a prey to the terrorists’ attack”. PTI