Chief Minister Pervez Khattak announced on Tuesday that psychologists will be hired to help the traumatised survivors of Army Public School (APS). The institution came under siege on December 16 and claimed the lives of 150 people of which 134 were schoolchildren.
Talking to reporters after a candlelight vigil outside the Assembly Secretariat, Khattak said existing schools in districts would be renamed after the slain students.
Security and investigation
The government plans to provide mobile phones to school administrations and law-enforcement agencies would rush to the students aid at the press of a button in case of an emergency, said Khattak, answering a question about security matters.
Responding to a query about the investigation into the lethal assault, the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) leader said the army was probing the matter with the help of the K-P government. “Some arrests had been made in different areas and were likely to lead to more people being taken into custody,” added Khattak. However, he refused to provide further details of the investigation, adding information will be revealed following the completion of the probe.
Earlier, MPAs across the political spectrum gathered at the K-P Assembly to honour the deceased APS students.
The event was arranged by the Assembly Secretariat to honour those students and staff members killed in the attack which was promptly claimed by Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan. Lawmakers prayed for the departed and later, led by the chief minister and Speaker Asad Qaiser, lit candles. Cabinet members, opposition and treasury lawmakers and a large number of assembly staff were present on the occasion.
Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz parliamentary leader Sardar Aurangzeb Nalotha told The Express Tribune the vigil was arranged by Asad Qaiser. Nalotha said lawmakers from across the aisles, including the leader of the house, were present to pay their respects to innocent victims.
December 16 is a tragedy for the whole nation and the country must unite to fight the killers and make Pakistan a land of peace and prosperity, said Nalotha. The PML-N leader said the central government had vowed to avenge the death of the children.
Students from various educational institutions of the city wrapped up their sit-in on Tuesday, demanding schools be named after every martyred student. In the wake of the deaths of 150 people, they demanded protection for each and every student’s life as enshrined in the Constitution.
The sit-in continued for about six days with students braving the harsh cold of Peshawar nights. On Monday, PTI lawmaker Zareen Zia met the participants of the sit-in and assured that their demands would be accepted. As a result, the protesters concluded their sit-in and dispersed on Tuesday.
Social activists, political leaders and others also backed the demands of the students.
A week after the incident, the brazen assault is still dominating the thoughts of people in K-P and the rest of the country. Not just friends and family but people from across Pakistan are making their way to APS, leaving flowers and mementos, for all those who were brutally gunned down that fateful Tuesday, at what has become Peshawar’s Wailing Wall.
Published in The Express Tribune, December 24th, 2014.