Tariq Jan is the father of Shamowail and Nangyal, who had been martyred on that horrific day when terrorists stormed the Army Public School (APS) in Peshawar. “I lost two of my sons and the remaining two are unable to resume their studies because of the incident.” To him, the ongoing Kabul negotiations with the organisation that perpetrated the attacks seem to add insult to his injury. He says that the APS attack destroyed his family, but the negotiations between the establishment-backed jirga and our children’s killers shows that the state places no value on the sacrifices. A total of 149 people, including 132 school-going children, were gunned down by fighters of the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) on December 16, 2014.
Tariq Jan appeals to the government to stop the talks with the banned TTP immediately.
He and others from families affected by the terrorist attack have been protesting. The families told The Friday Times – Naya Daur that after an hour-long protest, military officials approached them and after 30 minutes of negotiations they agreed to put forward their grievances regarding the Kabul talks.
“Our family’s happiness died with them,” says Tufail Tariq, who lost two brothers in the attack. Seven years on, he and his younger brother Sohail are still too traumatised to continue with their studies.
Tufail remembers that two days before the massacre, the Frontier Corps (FC) had launched a rehearsal to train students in case of any terrorist attack.
“So, when the first blast was heard, we thought that it was a routine exercise by the FC. But just moments later, the hall doors burst open and the attackers started firing directly at us.”
Tufail and his classmates managed to escape harm by slipping out the back door of the auditorium, where students and teachers had gathered to attend some first-aid training sessions. It was when he reached home that his neighbours told him that they had seen Shamowail at the Lady Reading Hospital (LRH). Shamowail and Nangyal did not survive.
“We received Shamowail’s body from LRH and Nangyal from the Combined Military Hospital (CMH),” he says, his eyes beginning to well with tears. “Our family’s happiness died with them,” he repeats.
Sohail, another sibling of Tufail, was in fifth grade at the time of the attack. He abandoned his studies due to the trauma.
Tariq Jan, their farther says that the government should complete the inquiry into the APS attack and make the judicial commission’s report public as soon as possible.
Fazal Khan, a lawyer who also lost a son in the APS tragedy, says that the judicial commission that was formed by the Supreme Court of Pakistan on 9 May 2018, had been directed to complete the investigation into the incident within two months. He added that that the families of the martyred students approached the apex court on 5 October 2018 in this regard. However, he says, they were not satisfied with the verdict as the main culprits were not held accountable.
The families’ wait is far from over, it seems.