PPP demands judicial investigation into 2014 APS massacre

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ISLAMABAD: Opposition Leader in National Assembly Khurshid Shah on Wednesday demanded a judicial inquiry into Army Public School massacre that took many innocent lives on December 16, 2014.

On a point of order, Khurshid Shah said he met parents of the deceased schoolchildren along with Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) Co-chairperson Asif Zardari. The mothers of the deceased still mourn the killing of their children. “Therefore a judicial inquiry should be started into the incident so that it can be known who was involved in the barbaric incident,” he maintained. “Who benefitted from the attack and where the authorities lagged in? The incident has united the entire nation but the hearts that were broken have not been healed yet,” he said.

Shah said that it was regrettable that commitments were made with the bereaved families that a judicial inquiry would be carried out to investigate the attack on the school. However, he regretted, the bereaved families were still demanding of the government to carry out the judicial inquiry into the carnage.

On FATA reforms, the opposition leader said it should be done in accordance with the aspirations of the tribal people. He said his party supports the merger of FATA with Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa.

To another calling attention notice moved by Syed Naveed Qamar and others, Parliamentary Secretary for Finance Rana Afzal Khan told the House that loans were being disbursed to the youth under PM’s Youth Programme as per the laid down criteria. He said that the programme launched in 2013 was meant for the unemployed youth only.

Naveed Qamar claimed that over 70 per cent funds of schemes have been distributed in Punjab. The parliamentary secretary replied that these funds are distributed when someone applies for the loan.

On agriculture loans, he said the present government approved Rs500 billion for the purpose during the current financial year. He said no discrimination was being made in disbursement of loans amongst farmers of all the provinces.

The National Assembly also passed two bills: The National School of Public Policy (Amendment) Bill, 2017 and The Marine Insurance Bill, 2017. The bills were moved by Law Minister Zahid Hamid.

The House was also informed that SHC’s decision on banning heavy traffic in residential areas and goods transporters’ strike in Karachi had caused losses of Rs200 billion in 10 days.

The chairman of the National Assembly’s Standing Committee on Finance, Qaiser Ahmed Sheikh, told the House that financial losses to the business community were also mounting as industrialists struggle to access raw material and other goods in a timely manner.

The SHC in March had directed the transport secretary and the city traffic police chief to immediately enforce a ban on the movement of heavy vehicles in the city during daytime.

After the ban was enforced, goods carriers went on strike to protest the restriction, arguing it would result in extra costs because their vehicles would have to cover longer distances to reach their destinations on time. Parliamentary Secretary for Finance Rana Afzal Khan lamented the ‘failure’ of lawmakers in the Sindh government to resolve the issue, which has caused a massive logjam of at least 70,000 containers in the port city.

PPP lawmaker Ghulam Mustafa Shah said the Sindh government was negotiating alternative routes with the transporters.

Meanwhile, Parliamentary Secretary for Interior Dr Afzal Dhandla told the House during Question Hour that provincial apex committees meet every month to review security situation and ensure implementation of the national action plan. He said efforts were being made for an early return of Afghan refugees to their homeland. TheDailyTimes