Civil, military leaders say ‘APS carnage will never be forgotten’

COAS says six school attackers hanged, while PM says incident taught nation to unite against all evils

News Desk December 16, 2019
APS Students in a Solidarity rally for their fellow classmates who were victims of a gruesome attack. PHOTO: REUTERS/File

Five years ago, Taliban terrorists carried out a sickening, evil crime, perhaps one of the evilest crimes in modern human history: methodical killing of nearly 150 schoolchildren – some of them as young as five years old.

The deadly rampage at Peshawar’s Army Public School (APS) on December 16, 2014 was the “most unkindest cut of all” inflicted by terrorists, but it became a clarion call for the Pakistani nation to unite and fight the scourge of terrorism and led us to a convincing victory against the savage enemy.

On the fifth anniversary of the APS tragedy, the nation united again in the memory of the victims and to renew its resolve to wipe out terrorism from Pakistan’s soil.

Walks, vigils and memorials were held in different cities while #APSPeshawar, #APSMartyrs, and #APSAttack became top trends on Twitter as netizens shared tweets and images of the horrific tragedy on the microblogging site.

The political and military leadership also spoke up with one voice that the sacrifices of the schoolchildren would never be forgotten. Leading the chorus, President Arif Alvi said it was “hard to commemorate this day without tears in one’s eyes”.

“The nation cannot forget the massacre of little angels/teachers of APS 5 years ago on this day. Hard to commemorate this day without tears in one's eyes,” he wrote on his official Twitter handle.

“In its remembrance, we reiterate our pledge to root out terrorism and extremism in all its manifestations from our country,” he added.
Prime Minister Imran Khan said the incident has taught the nation to stand up against all evils.

“As we observe 5th anniversary of APS Peshawar tragedy, our hearts go out to all the families and people who endured loss. This incident has united the nation against all forms of extremism, terrorism, violence and hatred, and taught the nation to stand up against all evils,” the prime minister’s office in a Twitter post.

Army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa saluted the martyrs and their families while saying that the “APS carnage will never be forgotten”. He added that five of the terrorists who had rampaged through the APS that day had been tried in military courts and hanged after their conviction.

“APS carnage will never be forgotten. Five of the involved terrorists have been hanged through military courts,” Gen Qamar said in a statement issued by the military media wing, the ISPR, in a tweet.

He paid tributes to those who were martyred in the massacre and their families and said the Pakistani nation has come a long way in its fight against terrorism.

“Salute to martyrs and their families. We have come a long way in failing terrorism as a nation. United we move towards lasting peace and prosperity of Pakistan,” the army chief said.

The chairperson of the opposition Pakistan Peoples Party regretted that a commission formed by the government to investigate the causes of APS carnage has not released its report.

“Five years on from the APS attack, the parents of the martyred students still demand justice. It’s a travesty that the APS commission report hasn’t been released,” Bilawal Bhutto Zardari wrote in a tweet.

“It is a failure of the state that justice has not been served,” he said. “It’s inexcusable that the NAP [National Action Plan] still has implemented.”

The 20-point National Action Plan was chalked out by National Counter Terrorism Authority, an administrative entity under the Ministry of Interior, in consultation with the stakeholders and approved on December 24, 2014 by parliament to defeat terrorism through a concerted national effort.

“After each tragedy we are annihilated by grief and vow ‘never again’. And yet the inaction of the state screams out its apathy. As a victim of terrorism, one who has yet to find justice, I know the pain of all those who lost loved ones. And to them I say, I am with you,” Bilawal said.


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