Pakistan is observing the first anniversary of one of the deadliest terror attacks in its history – the black day when 141 people, including 132 schoolchildren, were brutally murdered by terrorists in Peshawar.
One year has passed since the horrific Peshawar school massacre but there is still pain in hearts and tears in eyes. The intensity of the tragedy made it impossible for the parents, school students and staff, in fact whole nation to forget the faces and sacrifice of little angels.
The tragedy that broke the hearts of the entire country also united Pakistanis. The nation emerged stronger and united than ever before in their resolve to wipe out terrorism from country and their commitment to promote education.
“My dreams, my hopes and wishes were all killed along with my son” said a grieving mother.
The massacre shocked not only the Pakistani people but the whole world, prompting a paradigm change in the country’s counter-terrorism strategy. Pakistani government readily implemented the National Action Plan against terrorism, in agreement with all political parties, as well as the restoration of the death penalty.
Meanwhile, Pakistan military continue the Zarb-e-Azb military operation against terrorists, concentrating its efforts in the northwestern tribal regions and in Karachi city. The military operations have proved to be successful as terrorist attacks overall have greatly diminished since last year.
Pakistan marks First Anniversary of the Peshawar School Massacre
On the first anniversary of tragic event, Pakistanis at home and abroad united in commemorating the day. Prayers and memorials, vigils and protests were held all across country, TV and media devoted all their time to coverage of tragedy and interviews of victims’ families, while social media was overwhelming with words of solidarity and photos paying tribute to victims. All schools and colleges were closed on this day.
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has also announced that 122 schools and colleges would be renamed after the victims. Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR), Pakistan Army’s media arm, has released a new songsung by schoolchildren that pays tribute to the victims, conveying the message that “Education is the best revenge” and that we must “educate the children of our enemy” too.
A somber memorial ceremony was held on Wednesday, 16 Dec 2015, at the Army Public School in Peshawar. Hundreds joined the ceremony held at school to pay tribute to the young martyrs. The ceremony as attended by Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, Pakistan Army Chief Raheel Sharif, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf Chairman Imran Khan and several other dignitaries. The officials conferred upon honorary shields and medals to the relatives of the APS staff and students who were killed during the APS attack.
Pak Government, military leadership spend the anniversary with families of victims
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Wednesday declared December 16 the day of ‘national educational resolve’.
Addressing the ceremony to mark one year to the school massacre, the PM also announced the establishment of APS University in remembrance of the 144 children and teachers who lost their lives on 16 Dec. 2014
“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.”
Victims’ Families struggle in year after Peshawar School Attack
Public anger and outcry over the Dec. 16 terrorist attack prompted Pakistan government and military to ramp up antiterrorism operations.
But sill there is much grief and anger about the attacks in public.
One year after the Peshawar attack, families of children killed or wounded in the school massacre say the local government has broken its promise to help pay for medical treatment. Many children were disfigured or crippled in the attack and need continuous, long-term treatment and psychological rehabilitation, relatives of victims urged on first death anniversary of their loved ones.
“I can never forget that day. We are still traumatized. There were dead bodies all over the place. I was fortunate to have escaped the massacre, but my brother couldn’t,” Zakariya Aijaz, a student of Peshawar’s Army Public School said.
To share each other’s grief, an informal network of around 70 victim families regularly meet to remember their children, check on each other, and provide the support no one else could, they said. “This is the best therapy we’ve had. When we talk to each other, we understand because we lost our children that day,” said Ms. Khan. “We’re a family now, and our grief is our bond.”
This post was originally published here.