PESHAWAR: The Judicial Commission inquiring into the 2014 Army Public School carnage has summoned then Peshawar Corps Commander Lt Gen Hidayat-ur-Rehman and four other army officers for recording their statements before finalising its report about the tragedy.
The other army officers asked to record their statements are: Chairman, Board of Governors of Army Public School and College, Brig Mudassir Azam; an officer of 102 Brigade, HQ-11 Corps, Inayatullah; Major Doctor Asim Shehzad of the Army Medical Corps; and secretary of the BOG Brig Maj ICB Imran.
The focal person of the commission, Imranullah Khan, in a media briefing on Friday, said that a letter had been sent to the army officers through the Ministry of Defence by the single-member tribunal comprising Justice Mohammad Ibrahim Khan of the Peshawar High Court (PHC).
Those summoned for recording statements include four army officials, former home secretary and police chief
Similarly, he said that another letter had been sent to the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa chief secretary to summon the then provincial police officer Nasir Khan Durrani, the then secretary home and tribal affairs department Syed Akhtar Ali Shah and the then deputy inspector general of Counter Terrorism Department (CTD) Muhammad Alam Shinwari.
In both letters the tribunal has asked the ministry of defence and the chief secretary that the schedule of attendance of the said officers be conveyed to the tribunal within three days as the proceedings of the commission were time-restricted and it had to submit its report accordingly.
The commission had first received a detailed written statement from the ministry of defence to a questionnaire sent by it and subsequently it recorded the statement of a representative of the ministry.
About the appearance of the army officers, the tribunal in its letter states that after recording the statement of the representative of the ministry of defence, the commission considered the said officers relevant to the APS incident, as essential consequential witnesses, to ensure a thorough probe as per the grievances of complainants and in the light of the directives of the Supreme Court.
The focal person said that the commission was constituted on Oct 12, 2018 by the PHC on the order of the Supreme Court and had been functioning since Oct 19.
Answering a question, Mr Imranullah said that the commission had been given six weeks by the Supreme Court during which it had recorded statements of the parents, injured students and officials of police and the CTD. He added that as several important statements were left, the apex court had allowed more time for the probe.
He said that the commission on Friday also recorded statements of the then capital city police chief Ijaz Ahmad and a police official, Wisal Khan, who had received injuries in the APS occurrence.
He said that so far the commission had recorded statements of 93 parents of the slain and injured students apart from some officials of the CTD.
Justice Ibrahim Khan had visited the APS along with his team, including the commission’s registrar Inamullah Wazir, its secretary Ajmal Tahir and the focal person Imranullah on Dec 28. During the visit they were briefed about the incident by Brig Shakirullah and Brig Aamer along with their teammates in detail.
A bench of the Supreme Court headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan Mian Saqib Nisar had on Oct 5 ordered the formation of a commission of inquiry comprising a judge of the PHC for probing the APS carnage.
The APS tragedy of Dec 16, 2014 had left 144 persons, including 122 students, dead.
The chief justice had taken notice of the issue last year when during his visit to Peshawar several of the parents of the deceased students had approached him and requested him to redress their grievances.
The prime demand of the complainants is fixing responsibility for negligence on the officers concerned due to which the occurrence had taken place.
Following the carnage, the parents had come to know about a confidential letter through which the National Counter Terrorism Authority (Nacta) had on Aug 28, 2014, informed different provincial and federal authorities that the Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan had made a plan to carry out terrorist activities targeting the Army Public School and College and other educational institutions run by the army and to kill maximum number of children of army officers to avenge the killings of their accomplices.
Published in Dawn, January 12th, 2019