LIVE: Top civil, military leadership in Peshawar to mark a year since APS massacre

Published: December 16, 2015
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Prime Minister, COAS, Governor and Chief Minister along with other Parliamentarians and senior civil and military officials paying honours while the national anthem is being played at a  ceremony held at Peshawar APS today to pay homage to the victims of 16 December 2014 attack. PHOTO: ISPR

Prime Minister, COAS, Governor and Chief Minister along with other Parliamentarians and senior civil and military officials paying honours while the national anthem is being played at a ceremony held at Peshawar APS today to pay homage to the victims of 16 December 2014 attack. PHOTO: ISPR

Prime Minister, COAS, Governor and Chief Minister along with other Parliamentarians and senior civil and military officials paying honours while the national anthem is being played at a  ceremony held at Peshawar APS today to pay homage to the victims of 16 December 2014 attack. PHOTO: ISPR Students hold candles as they mark the first anniversary of the Peshawar school massacre which left more than 150 people dead, at a school in Bannu on December 16, 2015. PHOTO: AFP

PESHAWAR: It was on this day last year that terrorists struck the most unkindest cut of all. One hundred and twenty-two children and 22 staff were methodically killed in a sickening Taliban rampage at the Army Public School in Peshawar.

For Peshawar

The appalling massacre shocked not only the Pakistani nation but the whole world, and prompted a paradigm change in the country’s counter-terrorism strategy.

The nation is observing the first anniversary of the gruesome assault today.

PM Nawaz addresses participants of APS ceremony

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Wednesday declared December 16 the day of ‘national educational resolve’.

Express News screengrab

Addressing the ceremony to mark a year to the deadly APS massacre, the prime minister also announced the construction of APS University in remembrance of the 144 children and teachers who lost their lives as Taliban gunmen stormed the school on this day last year.

“We will take revenge for every drop of blood of our innocent children, the premier said.

The prime minister vowed to permanently uproot the menace of terrorism from the country. “Time has come to uproot terrorism from the country,” he said, while adding that “a dialogue process can only be initiated with human beings.”

NA declares APS massacre a crime against humanity

The National Assembly on Wednesday passed a unanimous resolution expressing profound grief and sadness over the killing of 122 children and 22 staff members of the Army Public School in Peshawar on December 16 last year.

NA declares APS massacre a crime against humanity

The House strongly condemned the barbaric atrocity, terming it a crime against humanity, while further recommending that December 16 should be observed as Pakistan Children’s Day in memory of the deceased.

PM, CJCSC, K-P governor, provincial CMs distribute honorary shields, medals among relatives of APS victims

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee General Rashad Mahmood, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) Governor Sardar Mehtab Ahmed Khan Abbasi, Sindh Chief Minister Syed Qaim Ali Shah, Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif, Gilgit-Baltistan Chief Minister Hafizur Rehman, Balochistan Chief Minister Abdul Malik Baloch and K-P Chief Minister Pervez Khattak give away honorary shields and medals to the relatives of the APS staff and students who were killed during the APS attack.

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif gives away honorary shields, medals among relatives of APS victims. Express News screengrab

Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee General Rashad Mahmood gives away honorary shields, medals among relatives of APS victims. Express News screengrab

Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Governor Sardar Mehtab Ahmed Khan Abbasi gives away honorary shields, medals among relatives of APS victims. Express News screengrab

Sindh Chief Minister Syed Qaim Ali Shah gives away honorary shields, medals among relatives of APS victims. Express News screengrab

Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif gives away honorary shields, medals among relatives of APS victims. Express News screengrab

Gilgit-Baltistan Chief Minister Hafiz Hafizur Rehman gives away honorary shields, medals among relatives of APS victims. Express News screengrab

Balochistan Chief Minister Sardar Abdul Malik Baloch gives away honorary shields, medals among relatives of APS victims. Express News screengrab

Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Chief Minister Pervez Khattak gives away honorary shields, medals among relatives of APS victims. Express News screengrab

Ceremony commences to commemorate APS attack victims

The ceremony to commemorate the APS attack victims kicks off with the students reciting verses from the Holy Quran.

Express News screengrab

The day terrorists struck the unkindest cut of all

Attendees rise up for national anthem to formally start the ceremony.

Express News screengrab

Express News screengrab

PM Nawaz, army chief arrive in Peshawar

The APS Peshawar is hosting the main event which is being attended by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, key members of his cabinet, army chief General Raheel Sharif. Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf Chairman Imran Khan and four provincial chief ministers and foreign dignitaries are also present at the ceremony.

Express News screengrab

Parents of the 134 children killed were greeted by General Raheel Sharif at the start of the ceremony at the Army Public School.

Earlier, the parents had visited their children’s graves in Peshawar.

Educational institutions closed across the country

Educational institutions across the country, both private as well as state-run, will remain closed while events will be organised to commemorate the victims.

Paramilitary forces, police deployed in major cities

Pakistan deployed paramilitary forces and police in major cities Wednesday as it marked the first anniversary of a Taliban school massacre that left 151 people dead, shocking a country already scarred by nearly a decade of attacks.

Schools, colleges to remain closed on APS attack anniversary

Army troops cordon off a street leading to the Army Public School due to hold a ceremony to mark the first anniversary of the school massacre which left more than 150 people dead, in Peshawar on December 16, 2015. PHOTO: AFP

The assault by nine gunmen on an army-run school in the northwestern city of Peshawar, which mostly claimed the lives of schoolchildren, was Pakistan’s deadliest ever extremist assault.

“Security has been beefed up throughout the country and additional police troops have been deployed in major cities, while paramilitary troops have been deployed at places deemed sensitive,” a spokesperson for the Interior Ministry told AFP on Wednesday without elaborating.

Army troops patrol a street leading to the Army Public School due to hold a ceremony to mark the first anniversary of the school massacre which left more than 150 people dead, in Peshawar on December 16, 2015. PHOTO: AFP

Soldiers were standing at alert on main roads and junctions in Peshawar early Wednesday ahead of the ceremony. A security official told AFP Tuesday that almost a full brigade would be deployed in the city.

Army Public Schools across the country are “particularly under threat”, he said, especially in the garrison city of Rawalpindi, which neighbours the capital Islamabad.

Traffic police direct govt vehicles on their way to attend ceremony to mark first anniversary of APS massacre

PHOTO: AFP

Shahbaz Sharif meets Chief Minister of K-P Pervaiz Khattak at the airbase

PHOTO: NNI

Imran calls on nation to stand firm against extremism

Imran called on the nation to stand firm against extremism in honour of the victims of the “unimaginable tragedy”.

“A yr later we must honour the memory of APS martyrs & courage of the survivors by strengthening our resolve to defeat terrorists’ agenda,” he said on Twitter.

https://twitter.com/MAsimKhanPTI/status/677055427172003841

Elimination of terrorism: Senators plead for Dec 16 briefing on NAP implementation

Students of the Army Public School in Peshawar participate in the ceremony marking first anniversary of APS massacre

Of the 151 people slaughtered by the Taliban in the hours-long siege, 134 were children, according to the army’s final toll.

The attack hardened public opinion against extremism and prompted a military-led crackdown that has improved security, with 2015 on course for the fewest deaths linked to extremist violence since 2007, the year the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan was formed.

But critics warn that long-term steps are not being taken to eradicate the scourge of extremism in society.

Two survivors of the massacre attended a sombre ceremony on Tuesday in the British city of Birmingham organised by Nobel price winner Malala Yousafzai who herself survived a 2012 Taliban attack.

Victims of the Peshawar school massacre Ahmad Nawaz (L) and Muhammad Ibrahim Khan (C) pose with Pakistani activist for female education and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Malala Yousafzai ahead of an event to commemorate the massacre in Birmingham, north England on December 14, 2015. PHOTO: AFP

Malala was shot in the head in retribution for publicly advocating education for girls.

At the ceremony, Malala condemned Donald Trump’s views on Muslims, saying the US Republican presidential candidate’s comments were “full of hatred, full of this ideology of being discriminative towards others”.

Pakistani activist for female education and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Malala Yousafzai (C) and her father Ziauddin Yousafzai (L) listen to speakers at an event to commemorate the Peshawar school massacre in Birmingham, north England on December 14, 2015. PHOTO: AFP

Operation Zarb-e-Azb will be a befitting tribute to all APS martyrs: COAS

One of the massacre survivors, 14-year-old Ahmad Nawaz, recounted the horror of the attack in which he was shot in the arm and his brother was killed.

“I saw my teacher burned alive in that incident and the friends with whom I was playing,” he told AFP in Birmingham.

“I was surrounded by the dead bodies of those friends. So it was the horrifying experience of my life and I still have nightmares.”

One year on, a veneer of normality has returned to the Peshawar school where classes have resumed and children play while soldiers stand atop recently fortified walls.

But the trauma lingers and parents of the slain children say they are still seeking answers about how the nation’s security apparatus could have failed them so completely.

Alisha Khan, sister of Mohammad Ali Khan, sits with her mother Gul E Rana (C) in the rooftop shrine for Hassan Zeb in Peshawar on December 11, 2015. PHOTO: REUTERS

“We think a lot about the students who lost their lives,” Abu Bakar, a teacher who was shot three times as he threw himself in front of fleeing children during the siege, told AFP, saying the loss was “something that cannot be described”.

APS attack anniversary: A tribute to the victims

On social media, Pakistanis were changing their profile pictures to an image depicting an Army Public School uniform with a bloody bullet hole resembling a poppy, and a caption reading: “Some stains don’t wash out”.

Many political leaders took to Twitter to express solidarity with APS victims.

In August, after a military trial that took place behind closed doors, the army announced that six militants linked to the Peshawar assault would be executed, while a seventh was given a life sentence.

On December 2, four were hanged at dawn in a prison in the northwestern city of Kohat, enraging parents who wanted to witness their deaths.

The Taliban have said they carried out the attack in retaliation for an army offensive on extremists in the tribal areas.

The mastermind Khalifa Umar Mansoor stated: “If our women and children died as martyrs your children will not escape.”

Some parents are also demanding a full judicial inquiry, complaining that no government, security or military official has yet been held to public account.

But at the school, teachers and students told AFP that education was their best revenge.

“The Taliban want us to quit our studies and become ignorant like them,” 13-year-old Uzair Khan told AFP.

“We don’t want to do that. God willing, we will continue our education, move forward and avenge them.”

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Reader Comments (18)

  • Dija
    Dec 16, 2015 - 10:39AM

    Speechless….the emotions and pain just cannot be expressed in words…..Recommend

  • Bisma
    Dec 16, 2015 - 11:02AM

    I sloute you APS martyrs…..Recommend

  • Qamber
    Dec 16, 2015 - 11:39AM

    Lot of Love & Respect to over Heroes ….
    Long Live PkaistanRecommend

  • salman
    Dec 16, 2015 - 11:49AM

    We can never understand the feelings of parents who lost their children’s at APS Peshawar. Only God can give them courage to bear this pain.

    If our army started the operation after the attacks on civilians (such as incident at Abbas Town), the incident of APS Peshawar was never happened.

    Anyhow, at least now they started…. I we are once again with our army.Recommend

  • Ali
    Dec 16, 2015 - 12:43PM

    Geevay Geevay Pakistan!Recommend

  • salman
    Dec 16, 2015 - 12:53PM

    We can never understand the feelings of parents who lost their children’s at APS Peshawar. Only God can give them courage to bear this pain.

    If our army started the operation after the attacks on civilians (such as incident at Abbas Town), the incident of APS Peshawar was never happened.

    Anyhow, at least now they started…. I we are once again with our army..Recommend

  • Akbar
    Dec 16, 2015 - 12:58PM

    The smallest coffins are the heaviest ones. We will never forget and will never forgive. Recommend

  • Parvez
    Dec 16, 2015 - 1:05PM

    This is a commendable gesture by our leaders……..lets hope tomorrow they follow up on what is needed to be done to help the victims, their families and action be taken against the breeding grounds of extremists and those who openly preach hatred and walk amongst us.Recommend

  • indian
    Dec 16, 2015 - 1:54PM

    strategic assets doing strategic thing. Recommend

  • rana
    Dec 16, 2015 - 3:03PM

    a coincidence both pak and india r united today pak remembering APS india ’71 martyrsRecommend

  • Hameed
    Dec 16, 2015 - 3:36PM

    Political drama over children’s blood.Recommend

  • Hari Om
    Dec 16, 2015 - 3:56PM

    Incident was a stark reminder that policy of fomenting terrorism in order to attempt to intimidate neighbouring countries like India is not without high cost for Pakistan. APS tragedy is a clear case where Pakistan having sown the wind of providing “Diplomatic and Moral Support” to “Freedom Fighters” reaped the whirlwind of Terrorism.Recommend

  • nida ali
    Dec 16, 2015 - 4:03PM

    Pakistan ZindabadRecommend

  • Daud
    Dec 16, 2015 - 4:06PM

    Dear mothers,we cannot bring back your sons and nothing can console you but believe us they are in a place far better than this world. You used to wait for them at home and now, they are awaiting you. Accept our heartiest greetings: your flowers have transitioned to become the flowers of Heaven.Recommend

  • Human
    Dec 16, 2015 - 6:13PM

    @rana
    Your remarks comparing our innocent shaheeds with Indian soldiers who of committed the worst atrocities in East Pakistan are outrageous.
    We are a nation with extraordinary resilience. The enemy is much larger but can never match our resolve! 1971 or 2014, we emerge stronger than before, InshaAllah. Recommend

  • Nadeem
    Dec 16, 2015 - 6:18PM

    Never forget, never forgive!Recommend

  • Hameed
    Dec 16, 2015 - 6:48PM

    Look at these PTI guys shedding alligators tears. These guys want to open taliban offices and call taliban brothers. PTI opposed action against Taliabn too tooth and nail.Recommend

  • Lakhar Khan
    Dec 16, 2015 - 10:34PM

    Mr. Imran Niazi,

    The only one who needs courage is you. Get some courage and denounce Taliban terrorists by name. They have murdered over 60,000 Pakistanis and you have not called them by name. You instead want to give them offices and negotiate with them. Get some help and grow a spine. Recommend

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