PESHAWAR: The confession of Ihsanullah Ihsan, a former commander of banned Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), is of no interest to Auragzeb Khan and his wife, who lost their son in one of the country's most gruesome terror massacres — Army Public School attack.

His disclosure as to how Indian and Afghan intelligence agencies are funding terrorist outfits, responsible for so many attacks, is of no solace or interest to them.

It won’t bring back their son, Hassan Zeb, who was among the 144 victims including children and staff killed in the attack on Army Public School on December 16, 2014.

TTP had claimed responsibility for the attack and spurred policymakers to formulate National Action Plan. Not only moratorium on death penalty was lifted but military courts were also set up to try terrorists.


Aurangzeb and his wife plead TV channel not to show Ihsanullah Ihsan on screen


“We will not forget you,” was the public outcry on social media and during public protests after the tragedy jolted the nation.

The parents of APS attack victims formed a forum to continue to fight for justice, however, as the time passed the public participation shrank and became limited to vigils and days observed to remember the APS tragedy.

It was confession on TV channels or media of a former commander associated with TTP and till recently with its more lethal splinter group Jumaat-ul Ahrar as its central spokesperson, Ihsanullah Ihsan, that refreshed the pain of the parents of APS attack victims.

“Please don’t show him on TV. It kills us,” Aurangzeb, who obviously seemed hurt and depressed, pleaded to those airing Ihsanullah Ihsan’s confession on TV channels.

He had switched off TV after seeing the former militant speak as he did not want his wife’s blood pressure to shoot up.

“Just hang him and his likes, if not for APS but for hundreds killed at markets and public places in terror attacks. Hang him in Army Public School,” he said. He added that no one, not even government or military, had the right to pardon such criminals.

Aurangzeb said that they should be tried in military courts set up after Army Public School massacre as part of National Action Plan.

“I want them to be punished with slow death so they would feel the pain we are feeling,” suddenly Hassan’s mother, who was lying on a bed in a corner, rose to speak of her pain when she heard her husband talking.

The small house spoke of its inmates’ depression and lack of care as things were scattered around. A small room, decorated and full of photographs of their slain son Hassan Zeb, was the only room in the house that seemed to have been kept with care.

It looked nothing less than a shrine or a place of homage to their slain son.

Ihsanullah Ihsan, who was a former senior TTP commander and spent almost a decade with the group before turning himself in last week to military authorities, publicly admitted in the confession released by the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) that RAW and NDS were harbouring anti-Pakistan terrorist groups.

However, the father of the APS slain child said that other parents like him didn’t care about such confessions. All they wanted was justice to be served and the killers to be shown to them face to face and then hanged.

After Army Public School attack, the military forces were spurred to eliminate militants in operations and Aurangzeb admitted that there was peace in places like Peshawar, Karachi and Punjab but sadly no peace at his home.

“I have resigned from my job. I don’t enjoy life anymore. I go everyday to my son’s grave as I find peace nowhere,” said the grieving father of Hassan Zeb despite the fact that it has been almost three years now that he lost his son.

He regrets to have been unable to reach out to his injured son, who called him and wanted to be rescued but since army did not allow him in, he could not get in to save his son.

“My son was alive for 26 minutes and waiting for me to rescue him. But I was not allowed by forces there,” the father recalls his helplessness.

Regrets and sense of loss is all he and his wife are left with. There are also three parrots — Choto, Moto and Guploo — their son’s pets, who every minute of every day remind them that their son is no more.

“So what if we can’t get justice here, there is a bigger court up there to hold the trial,” Hassan’s mother said with a sigh. If the APS attack victims’ parents haven’t had a closure as yet, is showing confession of a killer on TV without any visible remorse or sense of regret on his face to bring any lasting peace. No way!

Published in Dawn, April 28th, 2017

Opinion

Editorial

After the deluge
Updated 16 Jun, 2024

After the deluge

There was a lack of mental fortitude in the loss against India while against US, the team lost all control and displayed a lack of cohesion and synergy.
Fugue state
16 Jun, 2024

Fugue state

WITH its founder in jail these days, it seems nearly impossible to figure out what the PTI actually wants. On one...
Sindh budget
16 Jun, 2024

Sindh budget

SINDH’S Rs3.06tr budget for the upcoming financial year is a combination of populist interventions, attempts to...
Slow start
Updated 15 Jun, 2024

Slow start

Despite high attendance, the NA managed to pass only a single money bill during this period.
Sindh lawlessness
Updated 15 Jun, 2024

Sindh lawlessness

A recently released report describes the law and order situation in Karachi as “worryingly poor”.
Punjab budget
15 Jun, 2024

Punjab budget

PUNJAB’S budget for 2024-25 provides much fodder to those who believe that the increased provincial share from the...