APS report

 
September 27, 2020

A report completed two years ago by a commission set up by the Supreme Court of Pakistan has noted that some of the reasons for the horrendous attack on the APS school, nearly six years ago, in...

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A report completed two years ago by a commission set up by the Supreme Court of Pakistan has noted that some of the reasons for the horrendous attack on the APS school, nearly six years ago, in December 2014 could be attributed to the initial slow response. While the role of the armed forces in general and in combating terrorism has been praised in great detail, the report completed by a one-member judge of the Peshawar High Court has noted that quite surprisingly, the Rapid Response Force did not move and devoted some time paying attention to a terrorist vehicle, which was on fire, rather than on action inside the school. It also noted the Rapid Response Force were slow in arriving at the scene, while parents have said that police were not allowed inside although they may have been able to help protect children.

The question needs further study and further detail. But of course, we know that all the events took place in a situation of complete panic. The alert released earlier by the National Counter Terrorism Authority refers to terrorism in general on soft targets involving the Pakistan military rather than any specific action. The report prepared by the Commission also points out that the porous border with Afghanistan played a role in allowing terrorists’ entry into the country and in permitting them to carry out an act of absolute horror that took the lives of 147 people, including 132 children. The Commission report goes on to praise the military role in subsequently dealing with terrorism in the country. There is no real mention of whether those behind the attack have been apprehended, such as Ehsanullah Ehsan who had claimed responsibility for the attack, and was at one point, a spokesman for the TTP.

The report also states that the siblings of victims need to be provided free education and free higher education as a form of compensation to families. It also states that the terrorists who entered from across the border had support within the country and that when the people of one country themselves turn on hapless victims it becomes almost impossible for law enforcers to stop that action or to monitor every school and every street corner. This is a valid observation. The report has finally come out on the orders of the court. It also recommends full support for the affected families – including psychological help. We hope that this will be offered even at this late stage. Observations such as the many hours it took to bring the operation to an end need to be questioned further and more information provided about them to the public.



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