Supporters of Pakistani cricketer-turned-politician Imran Khan and populist cleric Tahir-ul-Qadri gather outside the Supreme Court during an anti-government march in Islamabad on August 20, 2014. Pakistani ministers and opposition politicians met anti-government protesters in a bid to end a week-long political crisis that has rattled the restive nuclear-armed nation. AFP PHOTO/FAROOQ NAEEM
The Supreme Court on Tuesday directed the government to submit its response on the report into the Army Public School (APS) massacre that killed 144 children six years ago, a private TV channel reported.
During the hearing, parents of the martyred schoolchildren appeared before the apex court and asked the bench to provide them with justice. “What happened to you was very wrong. This should have not happened at any cost,” remarked the chief justice after hearing the parents. During the hearing, the chief justice remarked that “we will not leave those who are responsible for the APS tragedy” and expressed sympathy with the parents.
The dejected parents, after listening to the top judge, told the court that they cannot live in Pakistan as their kids are not ‘safe’ in the country. “Do not say such things. The court will give its decision on the facts that are included in this report,” Justice Gulzar assured the parents. He also asked them what they wanted in ‘justice’. “We should be provided a copy of the report,” the parents responded to the CJP.
The CJP informed the parents that it was a secret report and the attorney general was being given a copy of that. “We have not read the report ourselves. We will see after the government’s response is received. There can be no contradiction on this. We will take action according to the law and the Constitution,” the CJP remarked. He added that the apex court will speak according to the constitution and law. “We formed the commission and we will take it to its logical end,” said the CJP. He also vowed that the court will not ‘let go’ those who were responsible for the shortcomings.
The top court directed the attorney general to ask the government for instructions and brief the SC regarding the next steps. The case was adjourned for four weeks.
Last month, the commission set up to probe the APS attack had submitted an over 3000-page report to the Supreme Court. The then-chief justice of Pakistan Mian Saqib Nisar had taken notice of the issue in April 2018 when during his visit to Peshawar several of the parents of the deceased students had approached him. Subsequently, on May 9, 2018, an SC bench headed by the chief justice had ordered conducting of an inquiry into the occurrence through a judicial commission headed by Justice Mohammad Ibrahim Khan of the Peshawar High Court (PHC).
According to the focal person of the APS Commission, Imranullah, the statements of 132 people were recorded by the commission that was formed four years after the attack. They also included over 30 officials of police, army, home department and others concerned.
Over 140 people, including 132 children were martyred in a terrorist attack on the Army Public School in Peshawar on December 16, 2014. The incident is considered as one of the worst terrorist attacks in the country and in the region that shook the entire world. The government had launched a National Action Plan across the country after the incident to go after the terrorist groups and improve the law and order.