Pakistan Supreme Court slams PM Khan over 2014 school massacre
Pakistani prime minister Imran Khan (Photo: AAMIR QURESHI/AFP/Getty Images)
India Weekly Staff
PAKISTAN’S Supreme Court asked prime minister Imran Khan why he was “negotiating” with militants behind the 2014 attack on a Peshawar school, which left 150 dead, most of them students.
A total of 147 people, 132 of them children, were killed when Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) militants stormed the Army Public School (APS) in Peshawar in 2014.
A three-judge bench – headed by Pakistan Chief Justice Gulzar Ahmed and comprising Justice Qazi Mohammad Amin Ahmed and Justice Ijazul Ahsan – summoned Khan on Wednesday (10) so he could tell the court of progress in the case.
Khan, who arrived two hours after the appointed time, said a national action plan was introduced after the 2014 massacre.
The bench said the government “should listen” to the parents of the schoolchildren and take action against the culprits.
The chief justice said, “(the) parents are asking where the security system was (on that day). Despite our comprehensive orders, nothing was done.”
In his response, Khan assured the bench the government will seek justice for the parents, without elaborating
The chief justice said, “Find out why 80,000 people were killed. Also, find out who is responsible for 480 drone attacks taking place in Pakistan.
“Finding out about these things is your job, you are the prime minister. As the prime minister, you should have the answer to these questions.
“We have already formed a commission and it has issued a report as well. Our order of October 20 states clearly that the government should find out who is responsible for the massacre and take action against them.”
He 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,” said Justice Amin.
He said the prime minister had now brought the culprits of the massacre to the negotiating table.
“Are we about to sign a surrender document once again? According to media reports, you are negotiating with these people,” Justice Amin was quoted as saying.
Khan’s government is in talks with the TTP over a “reconciliation process”, with information minister Fawad Chaudhry saying on Monday (8) that a “complete ceasefire” had been reached with the banned outfit.
During the last hearing, the Supreme Court bench directed the attorney general to inform the court about the steps taken by the government to redress the grievances of parents of children killed in the 2014 school attack.
At Wednesday’s (10) hearing, the chief justice asked attorney general (AG) Khalid Jawed Khan whether the prime minister had read the court’s order in which he had directed the attorney general to take action on the complaints of the victims’ parents.
The attorney general informed the court the order had not been sent to Khan.
“Is this the level of seriousness?” the chief justice asked. “Call the prime minister, we will talk to him ourselves. This cannot go on.”
On behalf of the government, the attorney general said, “we accept all our mistakes”.
At the previous hearing, the parents 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, the Dawn newspaper reported.
During the proceedings on Wednesday, the attorney general said, “FIR could not be registered against higher-ups.”
“Where do the intelligence (agencies) disappear when it comes to the protection of their own citizens? Was a case registered against the former army chief and others responsible?” the chief justice asked.
The attorney general replied the inquiry report did not find anything related to the former army chief and former director-general of the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI).
The chief justice said, “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.”