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Peshawar High Court halts construction of APS monument

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News Analysis |

The Peshawar High Court (PHS) has halted the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Government’s plan to inaugurate a monument for the children of APS who lost their lives in one of the most vicious massacres that has ever taken place in the history of Pakistan. One of the victims’ families challenged this move on the basis that the monument that is supposed to symbolize the brutal murder of one hundred and fifty innocent children is in fact not suitable.

He criticized the monument on several fronts, however his main contention was that the structure was inadequate and ineffective as a representation of one of the gravest tragedies to have ever struck the country. Justice Rashid commented on this issue by stating that the APS victims deserved more respect and honor than the current monument was giving them.

The fact that funds were mismanaged and corruption penetrated somewhere between the time when the funds were allocated and the construction of the monument is not only shameful, but unbelievable.

During the proceedings, the petitioner stated that “This monument is made of plastic or fiber glass that doesn’t reflect the sacrifices the APS children have offered but clearly show that someone has plundered the funds allocated for it.” The two-judge PHC bench had Justice Qaiser Rashid Khan and Justice Muhammad Ghazanfar Khan as the presiding judges.

Read more: Can Pakistan avoid another APS Peshawar massacre?

They issued this order after hearing out a petition of Fazal Khan, an advocate, whose son, Shahzada Umer Khan was a martyr in the bloody APS massacre that took place on December 16th 2014. The court proceeded to further investigate why the initial amount of 15 million rupees that had been allocated for the monument was not utilized in its construction.

The petitioner outlined the changes the budget has undergone since the initial allocation resulting in the original budget for the monument being divided by more than half. He stated, “Thus a revised PC1 was initiated and got approved whereby a meagre sum of Rs. 6.6 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 Rs. 8.4 million was allocated.”

Monuments become an inherent part of a nation’s history and a permanent symbol of their heritage. They are supposed to encompass within their structure both the narrative of an event as well as its grave significance.

He also mentioned to the court that the KP government was asked to provide the entire record under the right to information law however they have received no response regarding the aforementioned records of the monument and information about the funds. He mentioned that it was legally binding upon the KP government to utilize the entire amount of funds that were allocated for the construction of the monument.

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The PHC has now issued a stay order, stopping the KP government from inaugurating this monument that is being constructed on Peshawar’s Sher Shah Suri road. The APS tragedy was one that shook the foundations of the entire nation because it was not just a premeditated crime, it was a strategically designed inhumane massacre that brutally murdered one hundred and fifty innocent children.

Monuments become an inherent part of a nation’s history and a permanent symbol of their heritage. They are supposed to encompass within their structure both the narrative of an event as well as its grave significance. Due to the emotional, historical and social impact of the APS tragedy, the fact that funds were mismanaged and corruption penetrated somewhere between the time when the funds were allocated and the construction of the monument is not only shameful, but unbelievable.


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