As the country marked the sixth anniversary of the Peshawar Army Public School (APS) carnage on Wednesday, politicians – both from government and opposition – paid homage to the families that suffered in the heinous 2016 attack in which 131 school children and 10 others lost their lives.
The attack had shocked the entire nation as terrorists stormed inside the school and fired at children who were attending classes at the time.
Recalling the incident, President Dr Arif Alvi said it had brought the nation to tears. “These flowers laid their lives & brought focus of the nation to suppress terrorism with all its might. I thank them,” he said.
Speaking at a hospital inauguration ceremony in Peshawar, Prime Minister Imran Khan started his speech remembering the dark day, and recalled how the tragedy united the country after which “we were able to defeat” the scourge of terrorism in Pakistan.
“Today, six years ago, the nation was shocked & grieved by the extreme act of terrorism against children & teachers of APS; & the nation came together with a resolve to take on those responsible.
“We remain determined & are moving forward in fulfilling this commitment to the nation,” the prime minister tweeted later in the day.
Minister for Planning, Development and Special Initiatives Asad Umar said Dec 16, 2014, was not a “dark day” only for Pakistan but also for the whole of humanity. Sharing an old picture with one of the survivors of the attack, he said he remembered the “bravery of the boy whose courage was intact even after [what was for him] the end of the world”.
Minister for Human Rights Shireen Mazari said the nation would never forget the APS attack and vowed to “fight against the extremist mindset that feeds the hate and violence of terrorism”.
Every year, the entire nation’s grief and wounds are reopened on Dec 16, said Information Minister Shibli Faraz. He urged the people to vow that they would not “allow gains made against terrorism to be wasted at any cost”.
The minister said that the country’s armed forces, all law enforcement agencies, and the people had given a lot of sacrifices in the fight against terrorism and paid tribute to them.
Speaker of the National Assembly Asad Qaiser also vowed to “continue to fight until the scourge of terrorism and extremism would be rooted out from our country”.