PHC stops K-P govt from unveiling APS monument

PESHAWAR: The Peshawar High Court (PHC) has stopped the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) government from inaugurating a monument for the martyrs of December 2014 Army Public School (APS) attack after a victim’s family challenged the move and declared the structure unsuitable for representing children’s sacrifices.

The two-judge PHC bench, comprising justice Qaiser Rashid Khan and Justice Muhammad Ghazanfar Khan, on Tuesday issued this order while hearing a petition of Fazal Khan Advocate, whose son, Shahzada Umer Khan, was among the martyrs of the Dec 16 brutal attack on schoolchildren.

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The court directed the K-P government to explain what kind of monument was constructed to honour the APS victims and why the entire amount of Rs15 million initially sanctioned for it was not spent on its construction. “Give them more honour and respect. The entire nation has witnessed the sacrifices they have offered,” Justice Rashid remarks.

Arguing before the court, the petitioner said all nations demonstrate respect for their martyrs in the form of monuments but those are monuments in the real sense.

“This monument is, however, made of plastic or fibre glass that doesn’t reflect the sacrifices the APS children have offered but clearly show that someone has plundered the fund allocated for it,” he said.

He said initially a PC1 was approved by the competent authority and a grant of Rs15 million was sanctioned and made available by the K-P government as the project cost. However, when the directorate of archives and libraries came to know about it, it started grinding its own axe, he claimed.

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“Thus a revised PC1 was initiated and got approved whereby a meagre sum of Rs6.6 million was shown to be appropriated for the construction and allied matters. In revised plan, the purchase of books was also introduced for which a hefty amount of Rs8.4 million was allocated,” he added.

He said they had even told the court to provide the entire record under the right to information law but so far it is not provided. The petitioner said the government is under legal obligation to comply with the original plan.

Later, the bench extended the stay order it had earlier issued on the monument and stopped the government from its inauguration and releasing funds. It also directed the K-P government to come with a reply on the next hearing of the case to be held on January 12.

The monument is being constructed outside the archive library on Peshawar’s Sher Shah Suri road.

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