Psychological Scars Of 2014 APS Horror Continue To Prevent Some Students From Returning To Education

“Time had stopped for me after that the horrific attack on our school. Memories of the tragic incident have been revolving in my mind whenever I see the school students”.

Tufail Tariq was a student of class seven at the Army Public School (APS) Peshawar when terrorists stormed the school. He lost his two brothers namely Shamowail and Nangyal in that day of horror.

Recalling the incident, Tufail Tariq tells Pukhtun Nama that it has been hard for him to continue his studies after the incident. “I had tried to continue my studies for one year but couldn’t forget the scene when the terrorists opened indiscriminate firing on the innocent children and teachers” he says. Terrorists attacked the Army Public School (APS) on the 16th of December, 2014, murdering 149 people, including 132 innocent school students.

Tufail remembers that two days before the massacre, the Frontier Corps (FC) had launched a rehearsal to train students in case of any terrorist attack. “So when the first blast was heard, we thought that it is a routine exercise from the FC. But after a moment the hall door was broken by the attackers and they started firing directly on students. I along with my classmates escaped from the back door of the auditorium and reached home but one of my neighbours told me that he saw my brother Shamowail injured in Lady Reading Hospital (LRH). We received the dead bodies of Shamowail from LRH and Nangyal from the Combined Military Hospital (CMH) Peshawar,” he says with teary eyes.

“It seems that the happiness of our family had also gone with them”, Tariq laments. Another brother of Tufail Tariq, namely Sohail Tariq, tells Pukhtun Nama that he was a student of the fifth standard in APS Peshawar. “But after that incident I left my studies due to mental trauma.”

Tariq Jan, father of Tufail and Sohail, says that the APS attack had destroyed his family. “I lost two of my sons and the remaining two are still mentally unable to resume their studies because of the incident.”

Regarding the inquiry of the APS attack, Tariq Jan asks the government to complete the process and make the judicial commission report public as soon as possible.

Fazal Khan a lawyer and victim, who lost his son in APS attack, says that a judicial commission was formed by the Supreme Court of Pakistan (SCP) on the 9th of May, 2018. The commission had been directed to complete the investigation of the APS incident within two months.

Khan adds that the families of the martyred students approached the Supreme Court of Pakistan on the 5th of October, 2018. However with a year and a half gone by, the judicial commission had so far failed to complete the investigation.

Tufail Tariq says that he would love to continue his studies but trauma prevents him so far. Crowded environments, especially those in school, remind him of the terrifying experience of the 16th of December, 2014. The memory prevents him from fulfilling his dream of becoming a well-educated citizen.