The Supreme Court on Friday ordered the formation of a judicial commission to launch an investigation into the 2014 Army Public School (APS) carnage in Peshawar.
The SC asked the commission to complete its investigation and submit a report within six weeks. The chief justice of the Peshawar High Court (PHC) will form the commission that is to be led by a senior judge.
In the deadliest terror attack in the country’s history, 131 schoolchildren and 10 other people were killed when heavily armed militants stormed the school building on Dec 16, 2014. The chief justice had taken suo motu notice of the matter on April 19 when parents of the martyred children requested him to order a judicial inquiry into the carnage while he was on a visit to the Supreme Court’s Peshawar registry.
The apex court at the time had ordered formation of a judicial commission on an application submitted by APS Martyrs Forum. However, the commission never came into existence.
During the hearing on Friday, Chief Justice of Pakistan Mian Saqib Nisar apologised for earlier giving a verbal order for the commission and said that at the time, the Peshawar bench had been broken.
“Now, in front of you, I give the order in which there will be no delay,” the top judge remarked. He added that the whole country equally shares the pain of the APS victim’s loved ones and assured them that they will get justice.
“I will visit the Peshawar APS on Oct 16,” the CJP said.
On hearing the top judge’s announcement to create the commission, the parents of the victims burst into tears and said that they now believe that they will get justice for the blood of their children.
One of the aggrieved fathers, Advocate Ajoon Khan, whose son Asfand Khan was also martyred in the incident was present in the court as the advocate for the APS victims parents.
Speaking to media, the families of the APS victims expressed their appreciation for the CJP’s order to create the commission and felt confident that they would now get justice for their children.
Earlier in April, the parents had complained that some weeks before the APS carnage, the authorities concerned were alerted by the National Counter Terrorism Authority about a terrorist threat to attack an army-run educational institution, possibly the Peshawar APS. However, they said, no steps were taken to prevent the attack.
The parents said they had been demanding justice for over three years now and had been putting forward their request for a judicial inquiry at different forums, but to no avail.