APS attack: PM Imran promises action against negligent officers

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Aps Attack

The Supreme Court of Pakistan has adjourned the hearing of the case relating to the 2014 attack on Army Public School for four weeks and has instructed the federal government to prepare a report on the investigations within that time.

A three-judge bench headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan Gulzar Ahmed heard the case on Wednesday. He questioned Attorney General if a case was registered against the former Army Chief and others for security lapses that led to the attack.

The CJP inquired whether the Prime Minister had read the court order. The attorney general said that the court order was not sent to the Prime Minister.

“I will inform the prime minister about the court order,” he said.

On this, the Chief Justice said, “Mr Attorney General, is this a sign of seriousness? Call the Prime Minister, we will talk to him ourselves. It will not work like this.”

At the last hearing, the court had directed authorities to register an FIR on the behalf of the grieving parents, who had demanded a thorough investigation of the attack, which left 147 people, 132 of them children, martyred on December 16, 2014.

PM promises action against negligent government officials

At the hearing on Wednesday, the prime minister, taking the podium, promised the court to take action against everyone who was responsible for the attack, even the negligent government officials.

“When the attack was reported, the PTI government was in power in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa,” PM Khan said. “I went to Peshawar on the day of the attack and met the injured students.”

At that point, parents [of the students] were in shock, he recalled, whatever the provincial government could do, it did.

Justice Ijazul Ahsan told the premier that the court respects him but it was “important for the government to respond to the questions of the parents who lost their children”.

“Parents say they want compensation from the government,” CJP Gulzar Ahmed said. “They ask where was the security system at the time of the attack. Where are the funds given to the security agencies? Where are they being used?”

The chief justice argued that when the time comes, the public is left at the mercy of God. “Taking action does not mean registering an FIR.”

The PM replied that terrorist attacks in the country were increasing because of the situation in Afghanistan. “Are you trying to say there will be more attacks?” the top judge asked.

The prime minister told the top judge that a National Action Plan was drafted after the APS attack. He pointed out that there was “no holy cow” in Pakistan, adding that he will take action against anyone and everyone named by the court.

Consequently, the top court adjourned the hearing for four weeks, directing the government to submit a progress report within that time.

No findings against former COAS, DG ISI

On Wednesday, the attorney general told the court that no FIR could be registered against the higher authorities.

The court expressed anger at the attorney general, saying the incident was a security lapse and the government should accept responsibility. All military and political officials at the time should have known, it said.

The CJP said that agencies and institutions have all the information about everything but when it comes to the security of “our own people” they fail.

Justice Ijaz-ul-Ahsan remarked that Operation Zarb-e-Azb was going on at the time and the attack came as a retaliation to the operation. He said government agencies should have taken concrete steps to ensure security.

The CJP asked whether a case had been registered against the former Chief of Army Staff (COAS) and other officials. The Attorney General told the Court that there were no findings in the inquiry report against the former COAS and DG ISI.

The CJP said that action was taken against watchmen and soldiers and top officials were allowed to get away with perks and privileges. “In fact, the action should have started from the top.”

Attorney General Khalid Javed Khan requested the court to allow him some time to seek guidelines from the government. He said it was a serious matter and he must seek a reply from the prime minister.

TTP ceasefire

The issue of talks between the government and the banned Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) also came up during the hearing.

Justice Qazi Amin said that there were reports that the state was negotiating with a group.

“Children cannot be left to die in schools,” the CJP said.

The bench also directed the attorney general to inform the court about the steps taken so far by the government to redress the grievances of the parents of the martyred children.

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