Families of APS martyrs approach CJP over Ehsanullah Ehsan's reported escape

13 Feb 2020


One of the fathers of the martyred students, Ajoon Khan, filed the application. — Photo by author/File
One of the fathers of the martyred students, Ajoon Khan, filed the application. — Photo by author/File

Families of students martyred during the Army Public School (APS) massacre on Thursday approached Chief Justice of Pakistan Gulzar Ahmed over the reported escape of former Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) spokesman Ehsanullah Ehsan.

In their application, a copy of which is available with Dawn.com, the families of 15 students said: "We the families of Shuhada-e-APS are under severe shock and completely traumatised after hearing of the said news of release/fleeing of the known terrorist and spokesperson of TTP from the custody of the army along with his family after spending three years with them. The cruel terrorist has already confessed [to] the gruesome attack on [APS], killing 147 students and staff and many more terrorist incidents in the country.”

In the application, the parents questioned how the former militant was able to leave the country. "How could he flee from custody or whether he is released with some conditions," the application read, adding that "what kind of agreement was made with [Ehsan] to keep him alive for three years despite his confessional statement for being involved in many killings of students and staff of APS."

The application urged the authorities concerned to explain "why the state failed in bringing [Ehsan] to justice".

One of the fathers of the martyred students, Ajoon Khan, filed the application. He explained that they had met the SC registrar and had asked for a meeting with the CJP.

"However, we were told that the CJP is currently busy with court proceedings and has a meeting he has to attend later in Lahore," he said, adding that the registrar assured them that a meeting would be arranged within the next few days.

On the other hand, the parents of the APS martyrs voiced their dissatisfaction with the judicial commission formed to probe the attack and accused the body of employing delaying tactics.

Mysterious 'escape'

Mystery surrounds the circumstances of the reported escape of the former TTP spokesperson, who had surrendered himself to a Pakistani security agency under an agreement some three years ago, with sources saying that he fled during one of the operations to capture and target terrorists.

The sources said Ehsan had to be tried for his crimes but before the trial, all possible information had to be extracted from him to conclude the operations and that it was during one such operation that he was able to flee.

Notwithstanding his latest claim of being in Turkey, some sources believe the former militant spokesman is in Afghanistan.

In a short audio message, the former militant spokesman had disclosed that on January 11, 2020, he had managed to escape from the “custody of the Pakistani security authorities”.

Ehsan, whose real name is Liaqat Ali, said he had surrendered to a Pakistani security agency on Feb 5, 2017 under an agreement. He had claimed that he had honoured his part of the agreement but had alleged that the Pakistani authorities violated its terms and kept him in a prison along with his family.

He had claimed that he faced hardships during his custody and circumstances compelled him to plan his escape.

He did not provide details of his escape but had said that he would release “terms of the agreement” he had entered into with Pakistani authorities, the “approving authority” and “the individual who had furnished assurances” with regard to its implementation.