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APS inquiry commission summons eight more army officers

PESHAWAR: A judicial commission probing the 2014 Army Public School carnage on Monday summoned eight army officers and a police officer for recording their statements regarding the militant attack, which had left 147 people, mostly students, dead.

The inquiry commission consisting of Peshawar High Court Justice Mohammad Ibrahim Khan has sent separate letters to the defence ministry for the appearance of the eight army officers and to the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa home department for the appearance of the police officer.

The army officers summoned by the commission include Major General Inam Haider of the Engineering Corps, who was then a brigadier, chairman of the Board of Governor of Army Public Educational Institutions prior to the occurrence retired Brigadier Abdul Naeem Bhatti, acting commanding officer Major Abdul Latif, Lieutenant Colonel Muzzafaruddin Ansari, Lieutenant Colonel Jamil Ahmad Lakhiar, Major Mohammad Asjad Bugti, Major aamir Shah, who had also received injuries in the occurrence, and Major Doctor Zahid Cheema of Army Medical Corps.

The police officer summoned is the then senior superintendent operation, Peshawar, Najeebur Rehman Bugvi.

Sends letters to defence ministry, home dept in this respect

The letters were issued by the commission’s secretary, Ajmal Tahir. The defence ministry and the home department were asked to inform the commission within three days about the schedule of the appearance of those officers.

Focal person for the commission Imranullah Khan said the commission on Monday recorded the statement of the then secretary of the Army Public Educational Institutions (APEI), Colonel Hazrat Bilal.

The commission continued recording his statement until night.

He said nine officers had been summoned in light of the statements of other army and police officers recorded during last couple of days.

About the terms of reference of the commission, he said the Supreme Court had directed to ensure thorough inquiry into the grievances of the parents of the martyred students.

Last month, the commission had sent letters to the ministry of defense for appearance of five army officers including the then Peshawar Corps Commander Lt. General Hidayatur Rehman, the then chairman of APEI’s BoG Brigadier Mudassir Azam; an officer of 102 Brigade, HQ-11 Corps, Brigadier Inayatullah; Major Dr Asim Shehzad of Army Medical Corps; and secretary of the BoG Colonel Hazrat Bilal.

Apart from the corps commander, the commission has recorded the statements of other four officers.

Imranullah said the then corps commander would also appear but his schedule had not been decided yet.

The commission, which has been conducting in-camera proceedings due to sensitivity of the matter, has already recorded statements of some high-ranking police officials including the recently transferred Provincial Police Officer Salahuddin Mehsud, the then PPO Nasir Durrani, the then DIG of Counter Terrorism Department, Mohammad Alam Shinwari, the then secretary of home and tribal affairs department Syed Akhtar Ali Shah, the then capital city police officer Ijaz Khan and others.

The commission was constituted on Oct 12 by the Peshawar High Court on the order of the Supreme Court and it started functioning on Oct 19.

The commission was initially assigned six weeks time by the Supreme Court during which it had completed recording statements of 93 of the parents of martyred students, injured students and officials of police. As several important statements were left, the apex court had allowed more time for the probe.

Justice Mohammad Ibrahim Khan had also visited the Peshawar APS along with his team including the commission’s registrar Inamullah Wazir, its secretary Ajmal Tahir and focal person Imranullah on Dec 28.

During the visit they were briefed about the incident by Brigadier Shakirullah and Brigadier Aamer along with teammates in detail.

Published in Dawn, February 12th, 2019

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