Parents of APS attack victims plan protest

Parents of APS attack victims plan protest

Parents of APS attack victims plan protest ISLAMABAD: Ajoon Khan Advocate, the father of a student who was killed in the Army Public School (APS) Peshawar attack, is again planning to visit Islamabad along with other parents seeking justice for his son.

The parents visited the federal capital on September 1 and wanted to meet the prime minister but had to return disappointed.

Gunmen affiliated with outlawed Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) killed around 150 people, including 132 students, in the APS attack in December 2014.

Say they were promised a meeting with the prime minister during their earlier visit which was not granted

The parents of the children have been demanding the constitution of a judicial commission to probe the terror attack and punish the officials responsible for the security of the children.

“On September 1, 60 family members, including women and children, of the martyred students reached Islamabad. However, we were stopped by the district administration at the entrance to Red Zone (near a hotel). Later, we were taken to the chief commissioner office,” Mr Khan told Dawn.

“We were practically detained there with the district administration officials promising that a meeting would soon be arranged with the prime minister. They even did not allow us to go. In the evening, they told us that a camp was vacant in front of the National Press Club (NPC) and we should shift there until a meeting is arranged with the prime minister the next day,” he said.

It may be noted that Majlis-i-Wahdatul Muslimeen held a hunger strike in front of the NPC for over two months. Though the hunger strike has ended, the camp is still there.

“We said we will prefer to stay in front of the Prime Minister House instead of going to the camp and again moved towards the Red Zone. One of the parents threatened to immolate himself in front of the PM House. But we were again stopped near Zero Point,” he said.

“Finally, Minister for CADD Dr Tariq Fazal Chaudhry assured the parents that he would arrange our meeting with the prime minister next week.

“We will wait for a few days and will again visit Islamabad on Thursday to hold a sit-in in front of the PM House or D-Chowk,” he said.

In reply to a question, Mr Khan said instead of taking action against those behind the APS attack, the government had named a school in Zone IV of Islamabad after his son, Asfand Khan.

“I don’t want any compensation because it will be like selling the blood of my son. I want justice. We used to pay Rs500 per month as a security fee for each student as we were told that army officials were providing security to our children. But no one was held responsible after the massacre of the children,” he said.

“We have tried our best but no one is ready to do anything. The KP government is busy in holding sit-ins. We will continue our struggle,” he said.

Sher Nawaz, a retired army official, told Dawn that his son Yasir Iqbal was a student of second year.

“For the last 20 months we have been demanding the constitution of a judicial commission. We will wait for a week after which we will hold a protest in Islamabad,” he said.

When contacted, Additional Deputy Commissioner Islamabad Abdul Sattar Isani said coordination was made between families of the martyred students and the minister for CADD on Sept 1. Steps for arranging their meeting with the prime minister will be taken next week, he added.


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