PESHAWAR: The first anniversary of the Army Public School attack is upon us, Advocate Fazal Khan who lost his son in the incident is the President of the APS Shuhada Forum which has 47 to 48 members from the families of the Shaheed children. These few like-minded people are working as a non-political forum to highlight the issues of the families who lost their children in the attack.

Talking to The Nation, they gave the viewpoint of the members of the forum about government and other institutions post-December 2014. He said that the promises held out to the parents have not been fulfilled, in particular he spoke about the promise of the posthumous highest gallantry awards or equivalent to be given to the students who sacrificed their lives. Pakistan’s one of the highest awards, Tamgha-e-Shujaat has been given to two members of the staff by the President in Islamabad, while a few others were given in Peshawar by the Governor; he was critical of the Prime Minister not having visited any of the bereaved families, even though he visited Peshawar many times in the last one year; only 22 Shuhada package while others are still waiting.

To a question about the recent hangings of the terrorists involved in the attack, he was of the opinion, “These did not have the desired effect and that the proceedings were not transparent.” He said, “He knew one of the hanged culprits, and had fought a court case against him as lawyer in a kidnapping case.”

He said that the forum will be boycotting the activities arranged at the APS on 16/12, instead they will be observing the day as a “Black Day” by launching a strong protest to highlight the lapses of the past year. He said they are in contact with local and international media so their voice is heard on a broader platform. He complained about NAP that justice should pervail, the NAP outcomes should be visible, which is not the case.

He demanded transparency in all proceedings related to the incident, and for the concerned authorities to interact continuously with the bereaved families so that the doubts and misgivings are cleared and addressed to enable the families to come to terms with these facts and the Shahadat of their children.