Saturday, 22 January, 2022

Pakistan’s Supreme Court grills Prime Minister Imran Khan in 2014 Army Public School massacre case

  • Sun Online Desk
  • 10th November, 2021 09:16:03 PM
  • Print news

Imran Khan faced a flurry of questions on Wednesday at a hearing on the 2014 terrorist attack on an army-run school, where the Supreme Court bench asked the Pakistani prime minister why he was negotiating with the culprits in the massacre of nearly 150 people, most of them students.

A total of 147 people, including 132 children, were killed when Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) militants stormed the Army Public School (APS) in Peshawar in 2014.

The bench of three judges, headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Gulzar Ahmed, and consisting of Judge Qazi Mohammad Amin Ahmed and Judge Ijazul Ahsan had convened Khan around noon. He arrived at the court about two hours later, just before noon.

“Parental satisfaction [who lost their children in the APS attack] is necessary, ”Judge Ahsan said in a statement to the premiere.

The Supreme Court judge asked the Prime Minister to inform the court about the work being done by his government in connection with the APS case, the newspaper Dawn reported. The Chief Justice told the Prime Minister that the parents of the APS victims did not seek compensation from the government.

“Parents ask where was the security system [that day]. Despite our extensive orders, nothing was done, ”he said.

The prime minister told the Supreme Court judge that a national action plan was introduced after the APS massacre, adding that there is “no sacred cow” in Pakistan, Geo News reported.

The bench said the government should listen to the parents of APS school children and intervene against the culprits. “The government should take action against those involved in the massacre at Army Public School,” the Supreme Court said.

Khan assured the bench that the government will meet the demands of justice. The Supreme Court, in turn, ordered the Prime Minister to ensure the implementation of his ruling on 20 October. The Prime Minister told on the bench that he had met the parents of the deceased children before, adding that he would continue to do so in the future.

“Find out why 80,000 people were killed. Also find out who is responsible for 480 drone strikes taking place in Pakistan,” Khan said.

“Finding out these things is your job, you are the Prime Minister. As Prime Minister, you should have the answers to these questions. You are the Prime Minister, you should have the answers,” the Chief Justice replied.

“Khan told the Supreme Court judges that they can form a high-level commission on the APS tragedy.

“We have already formed a commission and it has also issued a report. Our order of 20 October clearly states that the government must find out who is responsible for the massacre and take action against them,” the chief judge replied.

The Chief Justice reminded the Prime Minister that seven years had passed since the tragedy took place.

“Mr Prime Minister, we are not a small country. We have the sixth largest army in the world,” Judge Amin said.

Judge Amin told the Prime Minister that he had now brought the culprits of the massacre to the negotiating table.

“Are we signing a surrender document again? According to media reports, you are negotiating with these people,” Justice Amin was quoted as saying by The Express Tribune.

The government is in talks with the TTP over a “reconciliation process” in which Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry had announced on Monday that a “complete ceasefire” had been achieved with the banned clothing. During the last hearing, the Supreme Court bench had asked the Attorney General to inform the court of the steps the government has taken to remedy the complaints from parents of children who were martyred during the attack on APS on 16 December 2014.

At Wednesday’s hearing, Attorney General Khalid Jawed Khan asked whether the Prime Minister had read the court’s order in which he had instructed the Attorney General to take action against the victims’ parents.

AG informed the court that the order had not been sent to the Prime Minister, adding that he would inform Prime Minister Khan about it.

“Is this the level of seriousness?” asked the chief judge. “Call the Prime Minister, we will talk to him ourselves. It can not continue, he added.

The public prosecutor said on behalf of the government that “we accept all our mistakes”.

The parents had demanded the registration of an initial information report (FIR) against the civilian and military officials, who, they believe, were responsible for security measures at the school, at the last hearing, the newspaper Dawn reported. During the case Wednesday, the attorney general said, “FIR could not be registered against senior officials.”

“Where does the intelligence [agencies] disappear when it comes to protecting their own citizens? “Was a case filed against the former army chief and other officials?” asked the chief judge.

The Advocate General replied that the investigation report found nothing related to the former Army Chief of Staff and former Director-General of Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI).

To this the Supreme Court judge 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 service in the world. So much is being spent on intelligence but the results is zero.”