PESHAWAR: Dissatisfied with the government’s probe into the Dec 16, 2014, Army Public School Peshawar attack, parents of the students killed by militants have threatened to boycott all official functions scheduled for the first anniversary of the massacre.

They also warned they would return all government awards if the judicial investigation into the carnage wasn’t announced by Dec 16.

During a news conference at the Peshawar Press Club on Monday, APS Shuhada Forum president Fazal Khan said the hanging of four people in the APS case couldn’t satisfy the parents of terrorism victims and that they were always kept in the dark about identification of the convicts.

He said how parents could believe the government’s version as the FIR registered for the APS massacre was flawed.

“There have been contradictions in the number and identification of the accused,” he said, claiming that the convicts were hanged just to ease the unrest among parents.

Mr Fazal said despite the passage of one year, the attackers and those behind them hadn’t been brought to justice to satisfy the aggrieved families.

He said the setting up of judicial commission to probe the attack was one of the parents’ demands and that if it was not accepted, they would return all awards, including gallantry awards, and financial assistance given to them by the government for the bravery of their children.

He also warned parents won’t attend the ceremony planned for the first anniversary of the APS attack .

Flanked by parents and relatives of APS attack victims, Mr Fazal said the families of those killed or injured by militants had expected that all those responsible for the carnage would be expeditiously brought to justice but it hadn’t happened yet.

He said neither the provincial government nor the federal government was serious about fulfilling their commitments made to aggrieved parents.

The APS Shuhada Forum president said the APS attack was not an ordinary terrorist incident as it had shocked the entire nation by claiming more than 153 lives, mostly of schoolchildren.

“We are not satisfied with measures taken by the government to bring the attackers and those behind them to justice,” he said.

Mr Fazal said the major demands of parents included formation of an independent judicial commission into their children’s massacre, exemplary punishment for culprits and their masterminds.

He also expressed concern about the selection of educational institutions to name after the deceased APS students saying prestigious institutions haven’t been selected and that around 24 APS students have been ignored for the purpose.

The APS Shuhada Forum president claimed over 45 families had decided to boycott the official functions scheduled for Dec 16 and would return awards and financial assistance given by the government if their demands were not met by then.

He warned the parents would raise their complaints at international level.

When asked about the possibility of taking legal course against the government over demands, Mr Fazal said parents could use the option.

He said unfortunately, the government neither built a memorial to recognise the bravery of the APS schoolchildren slain children nor acknowledged them as the victims of terrorism.

“We got only bodies of our children and certificates and nothing else,” he said.

Mr Fazal said Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf chairman Imran Khan had assured parents of raising voice for their rights at the federal level but didn’t stage a sit-in for it for a single day.

Published in Dawn, December 8th, 2015

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