Senators demand publication of APS attack inquiry report

| Say ending culture of secrecy would help scuttle conspiracy theories

ISLAMABAD - The senators yesterday called upon the government to make public inquiry reports of all major terrorist incidents in the country, including gruesome attack on the Army Public School (APS) in Peshawar.
Speaking on an adjournment motion regarding APS attack, the lawmakers said that it had become a pattern that inquiries of major incidents in the country, like Osama Bin Laden’s killing in Abbottabad, Kargil war etc were never made public and this gave rise to conspiracy theories.
A suggestion came from the Senate chairman that a museum should be established in the memory of APS martyrs so as to learn from such incidents.
Lt-Gen (r) Tirmizi deplored that no inquiry was held into Kargil war while India on the other side held an inquiry and brought to book the responsible persons of the incident. “The incident damaged the Kashmir cause,” he added.
He said that first Pakistan denied that army was not fighting in Kargil but later when medals were given to army officers, it exposed everything.
PPP Senator Farhatullah Babar said the successive governments had made it a routine that they did not make public inquiry reports of important incidents whether it be killing of Osama Bin Laden or smuggling of nuclear materials from Pakistan to another country. "There is a pattern that inquiries are conducted but not made public," he said.
Babar demanded publication of inquiry report of the APS attack as well the inquiries of the killings of journalists Saleem Shazad and Hayatullah, attack on Hamid Mir, the Bannu jailbreak in which dozens of dangerous militants were got freed, Kargil debacle and May 2011 OBL fiasco of Abbottabad.
He urged that the issue of publication of APS attack inquiry report be referred to the Senate Standing Committee on Defence to make recommendations. He said the veil of secrecy must be lifted and the APS inquiry report must be made public so as to get to know the masterminds and the perpetrators of the attack, what went wrong and where, and more importantly how to address the fatal shortcomings.
PML-Q Senator Mushahid Hussain Syed endorsing Farhatullah Babar said it was deplorable that inquiry reports on such incidents were never made public and this gave reasons to generate conspiracy theories.
"The inquiry of the Naltar helicopter crash in Gilgit in which some foreign ambassadors died was not even shared with the diplomatic corps," he said while sharing his experience of a foreign tour where he had to face such questions. He mentioning OBL killing said that the culture of cover up should be ended.
MQM lawmaker Saif Ali said that it was a criminal negligence as the Army Public School was located in a cantonment area. He asked for a judicial inquiry. This should be inquired who in the federal or provincial governments or from the army were responsible for that security lapse, he said. He said that some of culprits in the incident were claimed to have been hanged but facts were never brought to light.
PPP Senator Rehman Malik said that Safoora Goth terrorist attack in Karachi and APS incidents have similarities and inquiries should be held to get to the facts.
Finance Minister Ishaq Dar also laid before the Senate a copy of the money bill, the Income Tax (Amendment) Bill-2016. The house will make recommendations to the National Assembly on it.
The house also unanimously passed the Criminal Law (Amendment) Bill-2015 that is aimed at providing penalties against the offences of theft of electricity and tampering with electricity meters, interference and improper use of the meters by domestic, industrial, agricultural and commercial users.

ePaper - Nawaiwaqt