Judicial commission submits APS attack probe report to apex court

Updated 10 Jul 2020

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Police and army officials, injured students, parents appeared before panel. — Reuters/File
Police and army officials, injured students, parents appeared before panel. — Reuters/File

PESHAWAR: A judicial commission probing the 2014 Army Public School, Peshawar, carnage has submitted its report to the Supreme Court.

The Peshawar High Court had formed the single-member commission headed by Justice Mohammad Ibrahim Khan on Oct 12, 2018, on the orders of the Supreme Court.

The panel became functional on Oct 19, 2018.

Spokesman for the commission Imranullah Khan told reporters that the report comprised around 3,000 pages and carried statements of different people and important documents.

He said the probe body had recorded the statements of 132 people and of them, 31 were police and army officials and the rest were witnesses, including injured students and parents of the martyred children.

Police and army officials, injured students, parents appeared before panel

The spokesman said the commission had also examined investigations conducted by police and security agencies into the campus attack, which had martyred 147 people, mostly students.

During in-camera proceedings, some parents had requested the commission to summon the then prime minister, Nawaz Sharif, and the then army chief, General Raheel Sharif. However, the request was turned down.

The key army officers, whose statements were recorded by the probe body, included the then Peshawar corps commander, Lt-Gen Hidayatur Rehman, the then chairman of Army Public Educational Institutions board of governors Brigadier Mudassir Azam, Brigadier Inayatullah of 102 Brigade, HQ-11 Corps, Major Doctor Asim Shehzad of the Army Medical Corps, and secretary of the BoG Colonel Hazrat Bilal.

Similarly, the commission recorded statements of some high-ranking police officials, including former provincial police officers Salahuddin Mehsud and Nasir Durrani, then DIG of the counter-terrorism department Mohammad Alam Shinwari, then home secretary Syed Akhtar Ali Shah, then capital city police officer Ijaz Khan, then SP (cantonment) Faisal Shehzad and then SP (City) Mustafa Tanveer, and others.

Appearance of some army officers was delayed last year due to Indo-Pak border tensions.

The commission had sent a letter to the defence ministry on Feb 11, 2019, for the appearance of eight army officers to record statement in connection with the APS carnage.

In Apr last year, the commission had sent a reminder to the defence ministry seeking information about the dates on which those army officers will be available to record statements.

Those officers appeared before the probe panel afterward.

The commission was initially given six weeks time by the Supreme Court to conduct the inquiry during which it had completed recording statements of the parents, injured students and officials of police and counter-terrorism department.

The court granted more time to the commission for the probe as several important statements were to be recorded.

In Apr 2018, the then chief justice of Pakistan, Justice Mian Saqib Nisar, had taken notice of the issue during a visit to Peshawar when parents of several martyred students had approached him with a request to address their grievances.

They demanded the fixing of responsibility of negligence that led to the militant attack.

The parents wondered why proper security measures were not adopted after the National Counter Terrorism Authority informed provincial and federal authorities on Aug 28, 2014, that the banned militant outfit, Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan, would carry out attacks against the Army Public School and College and other educational institutions run by the Pakistan Army.

TTP commander Umer Mansoor alias Umer Narae had claimed responsibility for the APS carnage. The US government and Pakistan Army later confirmed that Umar was killed in a US drone strike in Nangarhar province of Afghanistan on July 9, 2016.

Published in Dawn, July 10th, 2020