Why Pakistan is yet to finalise the inquiry about the gruesome terror attack on Army Public School, Peshawar on December 16, 2014? Four years have gone by but The Judicial Commission is unable to meet the deadline to complete the inquiry. The obvious question, is the delay is procedural or intended?

What is most surprising is that the latest extension of a deadline to submit the report has been done on a request from the Ministry of Defence. Why Ministry of Defence is unable to answer the questionnaire sent by the Judicial Commission? An excuse for extension asked was “Need to collect certain documents”.  One wonders, what are these documents which are yet to be collected even after four years of the carnage? As many as 147 persons, including 132 students were martyred in the attack by six militants affiliated with the outlawed Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP).

Aggrieved parents of the children killed in the attack had approached Chief Justice of Pakistan, Justice Mian Saqib Nisar, in October, to help finalising the report, post which the Judicial Commission was constituted headed by Justice Muhammad Ibrahim Khan, a serving judge of Peshawar High Court. Parents are complaining of an insensitive attitude of the government who are maintaining a double standard in dealing with the victims. They feel, their children were the real heroes, who also deserve the protocol provided to Malala Yousafzai by the federal government. One of the parents complains, “Our children were martyred but not a single person of the federal government and cabinet members called on the victim’s families”.  By awarding different awards to martyred children, Government has divided their sacrifice as well.

Last year, the grieving relatives of the children killed had expressed dismay over the delay in fair and transparent investigations into the tragedies. They had even threatened to approach international forums if the government fails to provide justice.  “The government is even hushing up parents instead of conducting a proper investigation into the matter”. As per the parents, they are at complete loss as to why action is not being initiated against the culprits despite evidences? It is shocking that rather than neutralizing extremist ideology in the country, as promised, supposedly banned sectarian groups are still finding ways to field candidates in local elections.

Relatives feel that the previous government had some secrets about the terror attack which probably prevented them from finalising the inquiry. Now with the change in the governance, they are hopeful that Imran Khan’s government will help deliver the much-awaited justice to the grieving families. Will Ministry of Defence oblige?

26 Dec 2018/Wednesday                                                  Written by Azadazraq