PESHAWAR: The Peshawar High Court on Thursday rejected a petition seeking its orders to stop the federal government from making a deal with the banned terrorist outfit Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan without the consultation of parents of those killed in the 2014 Peshawar Army Public School attack.

A bench consisting of Justice Lal Jan Khattak and Justice Shahid Khan pronounced a short order after the completion of arguments by both sides.

The petition was filed by mothers of four students and a woman teacher assassinated by the TTP militants in the APS attack on Dec 16, 2014.

The petitioners included Falak Naz, mother of students Noorullah and Saifullah, Shahana, mother of Asfand Khan, Seema, mother of Aimal Khan, and Zulaikha, mother of teacher Sadia Gul.

Plea was filed by parents of students, teacher killed in 2014 APS attack

Advocate Ajoon Khan, whose son Asfand Khan was also killed in the massacre, appeared for the petitioners and said parents of the slain students and teachers were the victims of the most barbaric act of terrorism in the country’s history but they had still not been taken into confidence about the ongoing negotiations of the government with the proscribed TTP.

He requested the court to issue directives to the government not to take any step of reconciliation with the T TP without taking him and the petitioners on board.

Additional attorney general Amir Javed and a representative of the ministry of defence, Colonel Rizwan, appeared for the government and opposed the petition.

The defence ministry’s representative said hundreds of thousands of people had sacrificed their lives for the country, but the compensation package given to the families of the martyrs of APS was unmatched.

He said while families of a civilian martyred by terrorists was provided with Rs2 million compensation, Rs4 million was given away to those of APS attack victims each.

The official said the families of APS Shuhada were also given a plot each measuring 10 marlas in DHA, were sent for performing Umrah apart from other facilities including free medical treatment.

He said his clients’ other children were given admissions to cadet colleges and educational institutions of their choice for which the expenses were met by the government.

The official also said Rs90 million was spent on treatment of the students, who were injured in the attack, and that money was provided by the Pakistan Army.

He said all those involved in the APS attack were convicted and sentenced to death.

The official claimed that parents of the martyred students had confidence in the Pakistan Army and that was evident from the fact that they had been giving applications for admitting their children in Pakistan Army’s educational institutions.

Ajoon Khan took exception to the statement of the official and said he was ready to return plots and compensation as he like petitioners only wanted justice.

“We didn’t demand any compensation and instead, it was provided to us without demand. We had sent our children to school and not a war front,” he said.

The lawyer said his clients paid monthly fee to the tune of Rs5,000 to the educational institutions, whereas the children of military personnel paid Rs200 each.

He said the educational institutions of the Pakistan Army were run on the monthly fees of the civilians.

The lawyer said a threat alert was provided to the relevant security head in Aug 2014 about terrorists planning to attack APS but later it was said no such alert was issued.

He claimed that the families of the children and wives of military officials killed in the occurrence were provided compensation of Rs9.9 million, whereas the civilians were provided with Rs2 million.

The lawyer said his clients’ children should not be compared with other martyrs of terrorism as those children were target-killed.

“I have been practicing law for 20 years and if I can’t get justice for the blood of my child, how I will defend children of other people,” he said.

The counsel also said during previous hearing, it was claimed that no parleys between the government and TTP were in progress but currently, a delegation of clerics was busy holding talks with TTP leaders in Afghanistan.

AAG Amir Javed wondered what would happen if in future any other person approach the court stating that his or her relative was killed on the border while performing duty and they should also be included in the negotiations.

Published in Dawn, July 29th, 2022

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