PESHAWAR: The Peshawar High Court has directed the provincial government to compensate the families of students killed in the 2014 Peshawar Army Public School terrorist attack like those of martyred school employees under the Special Shaheed (martyr) Package.

A bench consisting of Chief Justice Waqar Ahmad Seth and Justice Mussarat Hilali observed that the government had discriminated against the martyred APS students during the payment of compensation for the terrorist attack.

The bench issued the orders accepting a petition of Ajun Khan, father of martyred student Asfand Khan, and other parents seeking the Special Shaheed compensation Package equivalent to either the one provided to the martyred staffers including APS Principal Tahira Qazi or the one provided to families of the lawyers who were martyred in terrorist attack at a hospital in Quetta in Aug 2016.

The bench had decided the case on July 17.

PHC asks govt for early payments in this respect

In a detailed judgment in the case, it ruled: “What has been discussed above, it is proved that discrimination has been done by the Provincial Government: thus, in this scenario petition in hand is allowed.”

“The respondents (KP Government) are directed to treat the petitioners’ instant petition alike with the others by awarding them a handsome full package as early as possible. In case of failure, petitioners would be at liberty to file contempt petition,” the order states.

The bench ruled that keeping blind eye and deaf ears towards the little flowers martyred in APS incident was highly deplorable.

“It is further noted that as per available record handsome package was given to the family of martyred Principal Tahira Qazi and other staff members of APS as per minutes of the meeting of Senate Standing Committee on defence dated 28.12.2015, attended by notified dignitaries.”

Advocate Mohammad Ayaz had appeared for the petitioners and contended that after the brutal incident compensation package awarded to the aggrieved parents included payment of Rs2 million along with Umra trip, which was too nominal keeping in view the brutal nature of the incident.

He said the affected parents had been looking forward for some handsome package from government machinery as well as Armed Forces, but till date no attractive package was announced.

He pointed out that handsome Shaheed Package was announced for the aggrieved families of the staff members killed in the incident as Rs9.4 million was awarded to them.

Mohammad Ayaz contended that over three years had passed since the tragic incident had taken place but the federal and provincial governments had failed to give appropriate Shaheed Package to the parents of the APS martyrs.

He submitted that there were double standards for compensating the families of the APS martyrs.

A representative of the Accountant General office had told the bench that the matter in hand was totally administrative in nature and related to the provincial government and the accountant general office had no concern with the disputed matter.

A total of 144 people, including 122 students, were martyred when terrorists attacked the school in 2014.

Published in Dawn, August 3rd, 2018