APS commission records statements of former corps commander, SSP

PESHAWAR: A judicial commission looking into the 2014 Army Public School carnage has recorded the statement of the then Peshawar corps commander, retired Lieutenant-Hidayatur Rehman and the then Peshawar senior superintendent of police (SSP), Najeebur Rehman Bugvi.

Focal person for the commission Imranullah Khan said the former corps commander had recorded the statement in four days as the exercise was held for four to five hours daily until Feb 16.

He also said Najeebur Bugvi had recorded statement on Monday.

Until now, the commission headed by Justice Mohammad Ibrahim Khan of the Peshawar High Court has recorded the statements of 126 people, mostly parents of the martyred APS students, injured students, staff members, army and police officers, and health professionals.

The APS terrorist attack had killed 147 people, mostly students, on Dec 16, 2014.

126 people mostly parents of students have so far appeared before commission

The commission now awaits the reply of the defence ministry regarding the appearance of eight other army officers before it for recording statements.

The Feb 11 commission sent a letter to the ministry for appearance of eight army officers including Major General Inam Haider of the Engineering Corps, who was then a brigadier, the chairman of the Board of Governor of Army Public Educational Institutions (APEI) prior to the occurrence Brigadier (retd) Abdul Naeem Bhatti, acting commanding officer Major Abdul Latif, Lieutenant Colonel Muzzafaruddin Ansari, Lieutenant Colonel Jamil Ahmad Lakhiar, Major Muhammad Asjad Bugti, Major Aamir Shah, who had also received injuries in the occurrence and Major Doctor Zahid Cheema of Army Medical Corps.

Apart from the former corps commander, the commission has so far recorded statement of several important army and police officers.

The army officers who have recorded their statements include the then chairman of APEI BoG Brigadier Mudassir Azam; an officer of 102 Brigade, HQ-11 Corps, Brigadier Inayatullah; Major Doctor Asim Shehzad of Army Medical Corps; and secretary of the BOG Colonel Hazrat Bilal.

The commission, which has been conducting in-camera proceedings due to sensitivity of the matter, has also 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, Muhammad Alam Shinwari, the then secretary of home and tribal affairs department Syed Akhter 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 of Pakistan and it started functioning on Oct 19.

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

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, therefore, the apex court had allowed more time for the probe.

Published in Dawn, February 19th, 2019

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