Pakistan in mourning after school massacre
“My son was my dream. My dream has been killed.”
• Officials say more than 140 people, mostly children, have been killed in a Taliban attack on a school in Peshawar
• Seven militants killed in security operation, says DG ISPR Asim Bajwa
• Nation to observe three-day mourning, announced Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in Peshawar
• Pakistan Army decides to take immediate action against militants in Khyber Agency
• The Taliban say the assault is in response to army operations in North Waziristan and the Khyber area.
PESHAWAR (Pakistan) — In one of the deadliest attacks in recent times, at least 141 people, most of them children (132), died when heavily armed Taliban attacked a school in Peshawar. The school attack, which is one of the worst incidents of terrorism in Pakistan’s history, that has deeply saddened all Pakistanis as well as international community.
The Taliban’s assault on the Army Public School and Degree College began around 10:30 a.m. local time. According to witnesses, the gunmen were wearing the uniforms of security forces, some strapped with suicide vests, and they reportedly went from classroom to classroom firing at children.
Injured victims taken to Lady Reading Hospital told that the gunmen scaled the walls of the school to enter the buildings, shooting students at random. “I saw children falling down who were crying and screaming. I also fell down. I learned later that I have got a bullet,” eighth grader Abdullah Jamal told reporters from his hospital bed.
Pakistan Army promptly arrived at the scene and gunfire and explosions were heard as security forces hunted down the militants. Pakistan commandos took control over the Army School after they gunned down the last terrorist.
But by the time the nine-hours-long siege ended on Tuesday evening, at least 140 people, mostly children and teenagers between the ages of 10 and 16 were dead, according to Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province Information Minister Mushtaq Ghani. The School Principal, few teachers and school staff are also among the ones who lost their lives in Peshawar school siege. More than 100 were injured as many of them suffered from gunshot wounds.
The Pakistan military declared the operation over after nine hours, saying all the militants had been killed. Maj Gen Asim Bajwa said the militants had a stock of weapons and food, which indicated they had plans to maintain siege for some time.
The attack which was claimed by the Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) is believed to be a reaction to the army’s ongoing Operation Zarb-i-Azb in the country’s tribal areas which is aimed at wiping out terrorists and their sanctuaries.
This tragic and horrific incident has once again raised questions on the state of security and maintenance of law and order in the country.
Many a dreams killed
Television reports showed many kids fleeing from the besieged campus escorted by Pakistani security forces. Whereas many wounded students were taken to hospitals that were packed with grief-stricken relatives of the dead and wounded kids.
“My son was in uniform in the morning. He is in a casket now,” distraught father Tahir Ali is quoted as saying. Speaking while collecting the body of 14-year-old son Abdullah from hospital, he said: “My son was my dream. My dream has been killed.”
Peshawar Attack is a National Tragedy
This was a “national tragedy unleashed by savages,” said Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in a statement. “These were my children. This is my loss. This is the nation’s loss.”
PM Nawaz Sharif government also announced a three-day national mourning.
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has called for an all parties conference in Peshawar tomorrow at 11:30 AM, in light of the devastating attack on the Peshawar school. All major political leaders are expected to attend the meeting in Peshawar tomorrow.
While speaking to media representatives after his arrival in Peshawar, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif says that the Pakistan Army launched the Zarb-i-Azb operation and its blowback was being felt now.
“I feel that until and unless this country is cleansed from terrorism, this war and effort will not stop, no one should be doubtful of this. We have also spoken to Afghanistan about this and we will fight terrorism together.”
Pakistan federal Minister for Defence Khawaja Asif denounced the Peshawar attack, saying it is highly barbaric to shed the blood of innocent children. “Terrorists wanted to spread pain and destabilise the country but they would not be allowed to succeed in their evil designs,” the minister said in a statement.
Pak Army vows to eliminate militants from Pakistan
Army chief General Raheel Sharif has reached Peshawar and vowed to continue the fight against the militants until they are completely eliminated from the country. Gen Sharif said that, “this ghastly act cowardice of killing innocents clearly indicates they (militants) are not only enemies of Pakistan but enemies of humanity”.
DG Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) Maj-Gen Asim Bajwa has said that the tragic incident has saddened that COAS, but at the same time he has said that, “our resolve has taken new height. Will continue go after inhuman beasts, their facilitators till their final elimination”.
“They have hit at the heart of the nation, but they can’t in any way diminish the will of this great nation,” the army chief was quoted as saying by the DG ISPR.
#COAS:They have hit at the heart of the nation,but let me reiterate they can’t in any way diminish the will of this great nation.
— AsimBajwaISPR (@AsimBajwaISPR) December 16, 2014