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pakistan
Friday Sep 25 2020
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Supreme Court orders APS report be made public

Relatives of APS victims hold candlelight vigil at Yadgar-e-Shuhda to pay tribute to martyrs of APS terrorist attack in December 2016. APP/Files

ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court of Pakistan on Friday ordered a judicial commission to make public a report into the Army Public School (APS) massacre in a decision that comes six years after 144 children were martyred in a Peshawar school.

The top court further ordered the Attorney General of Pakistan (AGP) to ensure the comments on the APS tragedy report be made public as well.

Amanullah Kanrani, the former president of the the Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA), was appointed the amicus curiae, with the court adjourning the hearing in the APS tragedy case for a month.

"Do you want those responsible for security negligence to be punished," Justice Faisal Arab asked, to which the parents of the martyred children said: "We have been buried alive!

"Everyone was gathered into one hall and killed there," the bereaved parents added. "It was a targeted killing!"

'What's the point of such high security?'

In his remarks, the Chief Justice of Pakistan, Justice Gulzar Ahmed said it was "a tragedy" that the responsibility was shifted only to the junior officials and those at lower ranks held responsible, while the ones at the highest rank not asked anything.

"This tradition should end," Justice Ahmed said. "The government should take action in order to ensure that such incidents do not happen.

"Those who wanted to achieve the goal achieved it," the CJP added. "The security agencies should have been aware of this conspiracy.

"People are not safe even in such high-security zones. How did such a big security lapse occur? What's the point of such high security when people still are not safe," the top judge inquired.

Addressing the AGP, he said: "Listen to what these affected [parents] wish for. You need to start sentencing in a top-down manner."

Justice Ijazul Ahsan termed the APS massacre "the grief of the entire nation", telling the martyrs' parents that it "is not only your grief, it's our grief".

'Protect the rest of the children'

Speaking to the media following the hearing, the parents underscored that while "our children will not return, this will protect the rest of the children".

"We have requested the court to provide us with the report of the [judicial] commission. We wish to fight our children's case in the light of this report and we want the real culprits behind the tragedy to be identified.

"We will fight till the last moment for justice," they added, noting that they were glad that "justice may be served".