Prime Minister Imran Khan has reached the Supreme Court after being summoned in connection with the Army Public School (APS) attack case.
A total of 147 people, 132 of them children, were martyred when Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) militants stormed the APS-Warsak School, in Peshawar, in 2014. The hearing comes on the heels of the government’s announcement that a “complete ceasefire” had been reached between the government and the TTP.
The prime minister is present in the courtroom no.1. A large number of lawyers, security personnel and families of APS attack victims are present in the courtroom.
Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid and Information Ministry are also present at the Supreme Court.
A three-judge bench, headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Gulzar Ahmed, and comprising Justice Qazi Mohammad Amin Ahmed and Justice Ijazul Ahsan has resumed the hearing of case.
During the last hearing, the Supreme Court bench headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Gulzar Ahmed, had directed the attorney general to inform the court about the steps taken by the government to redress the grievances of the parents of children martyred in the attack on APS on Dec 16, 2014.
In today’s hearing, the chief justice asked Attorney General Khalid Jawed Khan whether the prime minister had read the court’s order in which he had directed the AG to take action on the complaints of the victims’ parents.
At the last hearing, the chief justice had assured the parents of the victims of the court’s assistance in their efforts for acceptance of their demands.
“The AG has been put on notice on the complaints and asked to take action, as required by the law, and if those who have been named are found guilty of negligence in the performance of their duties, necessary measures should be taken,” an order dictated by the chief justice said.
The court emphasised that unless some drastic efforts were made, the petitioners would not be satisfied.
During the proceedings today, the AG informed the court that the order had not been sent to the premier, adding that he would inform PM Imran about it.
“Is this the level of seriousness?” CJP Ahmed asked. “Call the prime minister, we will talk to him ourselves. This cannot go on.”
The AG, on behalf of the government, said that “we accept all our mistakes”.
The parents had demanded the registration of a first information report (FIR) against those civilian and military officials who, they believe, were responsible for security measures at the school, at the last hearing.
During the proceedings today, the AG said “no FIR could not be registered against higher-ups”.
‘Where does the intelligence go?’
“Where do the intelligence [agencies] disappear when it comes to the protection of their own citizens?” the chief justice asked. “Was a case registered against the former army chief and others responsible?”
The attorney general replied that the inquiry report did not find anything related to the former army chief and former director general of the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI).
At this, CJP Ahmed remarked, “There is such a huge intelligence system in the country. Billions of rupees are spent on it. There is also a claim that we are the best intelligence agency in the world. So much is being spent on intelligence but the results are zero.”
Justice Ijazul Ahsan said the institutions “should have known there would be a reaction to the operation in tribal areas”.
“The easiest and most sensitive target were children,” he added.
Talks with TTP
Justice Qazi Mohammad Amin Ahmed observed that there were reports the government is negotiating with some group — an apparent reference to the Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP).
“Is it not the state’s job to go after and catch the true culprits?” he questioned.
Chief Justice Ahmed remarked that the court “could not leave children to die in schools”.
Action had been taken against the school’s guards and soldiers, however, the accountability process should have started from the top, he added.
“The higher-ups took salaries and benefits and left.”
Justice Ahsan said it was “not possible that the terrorists did not have inside support” and termed the attack a “failure of security”.
This is a developing story that is being updated as the situation evolves. Initial reports in the media can sometimes be inaccurate. We will strive to ensure timeliness and accuracy by relying on credible sources such as concerned, qualified authorities and our staff reporters.
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