APS attack probe gives everyone clean chit



PESHAWAR: A committee tasked to investigate a bloody rampage at a military-run school and fix responsibility has given a clean chit to everyone, senior officials said on Friday. Over 154 students and staff were killed when heavily armed Taliban suicide bombers stormed the Army Public School in Peshawar on December 16, 2014.

Soon after the grisly massacre, the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa government had constituted an inquiry panel – comprising Special Secretary Home Siraj Khan and Director Prosecution Saleem Muhammad – to investigate the tragedy and identify negligent officials.

“The panel probed into the incident from different angles but did not blame anyone for negligence,” a senior official in the provincial administration told The Express Tribune. He did not want to be named because he was not authorised to speak to the media on the ‘sensitive matter’.

According to the official, the panel interviewed a number of senior officers, including the CCPO, SSP (Operations), Cantt police superintendent and his deputy and SHO Michni Gate police station.

“The inquiry revealed that a thorough search operation was conducted in the areas surrounding the APS after threat alerts were communicated and subsequently the area was declared clear,” the official said. “The CCPO told the panel that he had met the APS principal following the threat alerts,” he said, adding that the police department maintained that it had done all it could to avert any attack.

However, the panel has recommended all stakeholders must meet if a threat alert is received in future, another official privy to the inquiry told The Express Tribune. It has also recommended a ban on unauthorised sale of uniforms of armed forces, police and other law-enforcing agencies.

“The panel recommended constitution of committees – comprising deputy commissioner, district police officer and Special Branch officials – at the district level to ensure security of schools,” the official said, adding the panel also called for shutdown of the schools which fail to put in place recommended security measures.

The official said the inquiry report was submitted to the offices of Chief Minister Pervaiz Khattak and provincial Chief Secretary Amjad Ali Khan a few days back, though the panel had been directed to complete its investigation within three days of the tragedy.

The inquiry panel was also mandated to identify officials who could be booked for negligence. The banned Tehreek-e-Pakistan had claimed responsibility for the sickening attack, with its chief Mullah Fazlullah trying to justify the killing of innocent schoolchildren in a video message.

Despite repeated attempts, The Express Tribune could not get through to the chief minister and the chief secretary for an official word on the inquiry report.


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