“It felt as though we would never be able to come out of this pain. But we came out of that time better and stood strong in front of the enemy.”
It was exactly on this day, 16 December, two years ago that terrorists perpetrated the most gruesome violence in the history of Pakistan, killing 144 people, mostly students of Peshawar’s Army Public School.
Two years after a deadly attack on Peshawar’s Army Public School (APS), a memorial was held at the premises Friday morning to mourn and remember those who had been killed.
Chief of Army Staff Gen Qamar Jawed Bajwa laid a wreath and offered Fatiha as he attended the second anniversary of the APS school attack.
While addressing the ceremony the current principal of APS Peshawar said, “That time (of the attack) was very difficult for the whole country. It felt as though we would never be able to come out of this pain. But we came out of that time better and stood strong in front of the enemy.”
Paying tribute to the 144 victims, mostly school children, she said, “We have not forgotten our children, our brave Principal, Tahira Kazi and the young soldiers whose martyrdom strengthened the country. Today, we have gathered to present a tribute to the martyrs. We will always remember them and make this loss a sign of courage and a sign that guides us to success.”
Remembering the fallen angels
Public holiday was announced for sharing the grief of relatives of victims of worst terror attack at APS which claimed more than 142 lives mostly young students.
The main function was held at Army Public School in Peshawar on Friday morning, which was attended by students and parents of the martyred. Army Chief General Qamar Bajwa, Corps Commander Peshawar Lt Gen Hidayat ur Rehman and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa governor Iqbal Zafar Jhagra also attended the memorial.
Around 109 government schools in KP have been named after the martyred schoolchildren.
Quran Khwani and other events have been planned by civil society organisations countrywide to remember the martyrs. A large number of people gathered in different parts of the country holding candlelight vigil and pictures of the martyred.
In Lahore, two hundred students and civil society activists gathered in Racecourse Park to pay tribute to the martyrs of APS. The event was organised by the students in collaboration with the Child Rights Forum (CRF). The participants also held a candlelit vigil and released sky lanterns into the air in the memory of the APS martyrs.
16 Dec 2014 – Darkest Day in Pakistan’s history
At least 144 lives were lost in the Peshawar school massacre of December 16, 2014, the deadliest terrorist attack in Pakistan’s history.
Seven militants belonging to foreign nationalities affiliated with TTP conducted a terrorist attack on the APS in Peshawar. The militants all of whom were foreign nationals, including one Chechen, three Arabs and two Afghans entered the school and opened fire on school and children killing 141 people, including 132 schoolchildren, ranging between eight and 18 years of age.
Pakistan responded to the attacks by lifting its moratorium on death penalty, intensifying the War in North-West Pakistan and authorizing military courts to try civilians through a constitutional amendment. On December 2, 2015, Pakistan hanged four militants involved in the Peshawar massacre, whereas the mastermind of the attack, Omer Khorasani, was killed in a drone strike in eastern Afghanistan on 9 July 2016.
A rescue operation was launched by the Pakistan Army’s Special Services Group (SSG), who killed all seven terrorists and rescued 960 children and staff.