PESHAWAR: A Supreme Court bench headed by Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar on Thursday issued notices to the federal and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa governments over an application of parents of several students, who were martyred in the 2014 Army Public School attack, seeking a judicial inquiry into the carnage.

Amidst moving scenes as several parents burst out crying, the chief justice requested them to give him at least one week time to go through their case and understand their demands.

The full bench, whose other two members were Justice Umar Ata Bandial and Justice Mansoor Ali Shah, also directed the court’s registrar to call the petitions on the APS attack pending with the Peshawar High Court.

CJP asks students’ parents to give him one week to understand their demands

The chief justice observed that he would either visit Peshawar or task another bench with hearing the parents’ grievances.

The chief justice took a suo motu notice of the matter when parents of some martyred students, including mothers, approached him when the bench was hearing other cases.

The courtroom at the Supreme Court’s Peshawar registry was packed beyond capacity as the people turned up in large numbers to apprise the chief justice of their grievances.

The mother of martyred student Asfand Khan started crying when she narrated the ordeal of the most APS students’ parents. She said she had never slapped her son but the terrorists had fired six bullets at him.

She said that for the last over three years they had been moving from pillar to posts seeking justice but in vain.

Other parents including women carrying pictures of their sons appeared before the bench.

Almost all of them complained that several weeks before that unfortunate occurrence the concerned authorities were conveyed by National Counter Terrorism Authority (Nacta) about plans of terrorists to attack any army run educational institution including Peshawar APS. However, they said no steps were taken to avert that attack.

They pointed out that their demand was to conduct an impartial judicial inquiry so as to fix responsibility of negligence on the officials concerned.

They asked why the authorities were shy of conducting the inquiry.

“You have been bestowed the responsibility of dispensation of justice by Almighty Allah and if you fail in providing us justice, you will be answerable on the Day of Judgment,” one of the mothers said. She said that her lone son was killed by terrorists in the said occurrence and she still did not know who was responsible for his murder.

Another mother while profusely crying asked the chief justice could he bring her son back for a moment only so that she could hug him.

Chief secretary Azam Khan said the basic demand of parents was the holding of a judicial inquiry into the whole incident.

The chief justice observed why the government had not ordered an inquiry so far. He added that he was like father to all of them and would strive to provide them justice.

COLLEGES FEE: The bench ordered all private medical colleges in the province not charge more than Rs800,000 fee per annum from students.

It also ordered the freezing of the accounts of one of these colleges, Al-Razi Medical College, over complaints filed by the students that the administration had been charging exorbitant fee.

The bench directed the Federal Investigation Agency to conduct an inquiry in that regard.

The chief justice also visited the college and inspected the facilities provided to students.

Meanwhile, advocate Abbas Khan Sangeen informed the bench that few months ago, the PHC had decided some petitions and had issued several directives to the private schools to streamline their affairs.

He however said the schools had not been implementing the judgment and had been claiming that their appeals were pending before the apex court.

The bench directed the court’s registrar to fix those appeals in Islamabad for early decision.

It continued the hearing into the grievances of several people until evening and announced it would meet again on Friday.

Published in Dawn, April 20th, 2018