ISLAMABAD: The families of those martyred in the terrorist attack on the Army Public School (APS) in Peshawar on Saturday renewed calls for a judicial commission to probe the incident to unmask the masterminds behind the heinous attack.

Speaking at the launch of Mata-i-Hayat, a book based on interviews of parents and relatives of those martyred at APS, the late Asfand Khan’s mother Shahana Azmat said that only pawns were brought to justice in the aftermath of the attack.

On Dec 16, 2014, terrorists from the banned Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) carried out a vicious assault on APS Peshawar, killing around 150 people, including 132 students between the ages of eight and 18.

Ms Azmat maintained that the criminals who were tried and sentenced for the killing of children, could not be the primary culprits.

Book of interviews with victims’ relatives launched at National Press Club

“They were just puppets; the main planners of the incident have not be unmasked until today. We have been demanding justice for our children, but unfortunately no one is willing to deliver. It is strange that no one is willing to share details of the incident with us; we want to know the name of the mastermind,” she said.

Recalling macabre details of the incident, she said that there were a number of children who were shot over a dozen times, and most of the other victims had four to six gunshot wounds each.

“How could such a huge cache of weapons be brought inside a school that is located in the cantonment area, which is controlled by the army.

“There must be some big guns behind the incident and it must have been planned by some mastermind. We want to know who that is, because such attacks cannot be planned and executed in just one day,” she said.

With tears in her eyes, Ms Azmat recalled that her son was 15 years old at the time of his death.

“He would have been 18 today; how can any mother imagine that such a young boy could die? We all want justice and will not stop until we get it,” she said.

Advocate Ajoon Khan, who has filed a number of petitions on behalf of the bereaved families and has made efforts seeking the establishment of a judicial commission in this regard, told Dawn that he had failed to attract the attention of the political elite.

“Last year, we came to Islamabad and CADD Minister Dr Tariq Fazal Chaudhry assured us that he would arrange a meeting with the prime minister within a week, but that never happened,” he said, recalling the demonstration staged by families of APS victims in the capital in September 2016.

“Two weeks ago, we had another meeting with PML-N leader Amir Muqam, who also assured us that he would arrange a meeting with the PM, but he has been ignoring us ever since.”

The event at the National Press Club (NPS), held to mark the launch of Rabia Rehman’s book, was also attended by former information minister Firdous Ashiq Awan, GBLA Deputy Speaker Jafarullah and members of the journalist community.

Ms Awan said that such incidents could only be stemmed if, after changing the military doctrine, the political doctrine would also be changed.

Speaking at the occasion, the author recounted her tribulations as she interviewed the families of young martyrs, saying that she was unable to control her feelings.

Published in Dawn, December 24th, 2017