Terrorists attack Pak army school, kill 132 children

  • One of the worst terror attacks in Pakistan
  • Terrorists held no hostages, just killed
  • Special Forces end the siege by 6.40pm
  • Three days of national mourning announced

(P Ravi)

Pakistan, December 17: They came; they killed and left behind the aftermath of tragedy. The day at the Army School in Peshawar started like any other and the students had gathered in the classroom for their exam. Around seven terrorists entered the premises, shot a few rounds into the air to disperse the children from the grounds and then entered the class rooms. The children who probably knew the drill by now hit the ground to avoid bullets; after all their area is not new to terror attacks (The country has seen around 8oo attacks on schools between 2009 and 2012 itself). The terrorists were clear in their mind and did not hurry. Surely and systematically they shot children and by the time they finished around 100 innocent school children died tragically, for no fault of theirs. Tehrik-i-Taliban said it was an act of retaliation. “This is a reaction to the killing of our children and dumping of bodies of our mujahideen,” claimed a spokesperson.

Weather it is an attack triggered as an idea by the attacks in Belgium and Australia that happened a couple of days back or it is just the easiest way to get written about, Taliban terrorists chose the most heinous way of killing. The intention of terrorists was clear, they wanted to kill as many as possible, before Pakistan army killed the last one of the terrorist. The terrorists were wearing suicide jackets. Pakistan Special Forces ended the siege on the school by around 6.40pm and until then terrorists attacked and killed around 132 children and 9 staff members.

The survivors had stories of horror to relate as the children saw death staring in the face. Even as the teachers tried to protect the children by closing the door and barricading the windows, the terrorists broke open the doors and fired indiscriminately. Some of the children lay flat on the floor without moving after being shot once, because one movement was enough to face another round of gun shots. Most of the dead students had multiple bullets shot at them. The terrorists were apparently told to kill boy students who crossed puberty, but once inside the school, age hardly mattered.

Reacting to the attack Prime Minister Nawaz Sherif called it a national tragedy, “They are my children, it is my loss.” He announced a three day national mourning. World leaders including Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi and American President Obama expressed their solidarity to Pakistan that is dealing with one of the worst terror attacks the country has seen. Hundreds of injured children are undergoing treatment in the hospitals and every other house in the area has a death and the city is under the pall of gloom as smartly dressed kids who had left home in the morning came back in a casket.

The fact that it was an army school and most of the pupils were children of army men and that the school is in Khattak, capital of one of the most violent provinces of Pakistan and was in army cantonment area, yet was such an easy access to the terrorists, questions the claims of Pakistan government of having achieved peace and security. The country has to relook into their strategy of dealing with terror. For, this is not the first time a school has been attached in Pakistan. It is just that the enormity of tragedy is bigger. While it is time to offer a sympathetic hand, it is also the time to appeal to Pakistan government to introspect and to look beyond politics and give top priority to extremism, deal with it with a stern hand and secure safe education for children.

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