In an attack on a school in Peshawar, capital of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province bordering Afghanistan, the Pakistani Taliban killed at least 146 people, most of them children. Their spokesman said it was to avenge the military operation against them in North Waziristan. The attack lasted several hours and ended only when the seven terrorists were killed. The army is sweeping the area looking for more terrorists.
Peshawar, Blogger (Online).
Choosing a soft target—a school on Warsak Road in Peshawar run by the army—the Tehrik-e Taliban Pakistan (TTP) stormed a school today that resulted in the death of at least 146 people, the majority of them students. This figure was mentioned by Pakistan Tehrik-e Insaf (PTI) Information Secretary Shireen Mazari. She said 113 people were injured. Her information may be more accurate than that of the federal government because her party is in power in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province (KPP) whose capital is Peshawar.
The terrorists were disguised in Frontier Constabulary uniform and had sneaked into the school through a graveyard located behind it. They cut the razor wire and made their entry and once inside, they started firing their heavy weapons targeting students. The students were taking exams and were, therefore, all in their classes or in the main hall. Scores of students were shot in the corridors as they tried to flee. The terrorists showed no mercy. Within half hour of the attack, Pakistan Army troops had rushed to the scene and cordoned off the area.
As news trickled out, the death toll started to climb. Of the four blocks, three were cleared of the terrorists but they barricaded themselves in one block—the Administration Block—and took with them scores of students and teachers hostage. Pakistani commandoes were mobilised for the rescue mission and it took several hours before the siege was over when all seven terrorists were reported killed. During the attack, several explosions were also heard in the school.
Pakistan Army chief General Raheel Sharif as well as Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif (no relation) also rushed to Peshawar. Pakistan Tehrik-e Insaf (PTI) chief Imran Khan spoke to the Chief Minister Pervez Khattak. He told him to reach the scene of the attack and to offer whatever help was needed. The Taliban spokesman, Muhammad Khorasani said the attack was in retaliation for army operations against the militants in North Waziristan. Before the formal operation codenamed Zarb-e Azb was launched, the army had given the people of North Waziristan three days to evacuate their homes. Most became refugees and sought shelter with friends or relatives in other parts of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province. The Pakistan military has been bombing the area targeting militants. They have said most of the militants killed so far are foreigners or hardcore Pakistani militants.
The militants had vowed to exact revenge for the bombing campaign. It seems unfortunately the authorities did not take adequate precautions to prevent such attacks although it may have been impossible to prevent the school attack. The provincial government has said it has beefed up security at all schools and other institutions. Ghulam Ahmed Bilour of the secular Awami National Party (ANP) said the provincial government has “completely failed”. This must be a new low in Pakistan’s already dirty politics. Even with 146 people dead, of whom 140 are children—and the death toll may climb if other students succumb to their injuries—Bilour was playing politics using the tragedy. Shah Mahmood Qureshi, Deputy leader of the PTI said it was time to unite to confront the terrorist threat rather than playing politics or indulging in finger pointing. Given the scale of the tragedy—with nearly 150 people dead in a single operation—not only the province but the entire country is grief-stricken. Can such attacks be prevented in the future? It seems highly unlikely unless stringent security measures are taken and the Frontier Constabulary and army developed throughout the country. The blowback from the North Waziristan operation was expected. It seems the Pakistani authorities did not take this into account and ordinary people, in this case school children, have paid the price.
These barbaric murders by Tehrike Taliban Pakistan (TTP) forced on the shoulders of the Muslim community worldwide the biggest burden of all. Indeed, the coffin of a child is the heaviest thing to carry. Little children went to school never to return to their loving parents. Their fault was that their parents sent them to an army school run by an institution that is blamed for the combing operations conducted in North Waziristan that took the lives of many young Pathan boys and girls whose relatives avenged their loss by spraying bullets on the kids in the army school.
Stories of courage and horror are coming out from the survivors. One father expressed his pride knowing that his only son sacrificed his life trying to save his classmates. Tahira Qazi the principal first came out with lots of children but then went right back to rescue more. She was beaten and then burned alive in front of her students. The madness of all this is captured by pictures of the school´s blood stained classrooms and the auditorium.
The murderous act was condemned by the Afghan Taliban, who asserted that such acts were against Islamic principles and innocent men, women and children should be left out of dangerous operations. Afghan Taliban spokesman said the incident was their 911 and the attack was an attack on the future of Pakistan.
The Ameer of Afghan Taliban Mullah Omar is also said to have criticized and condemned the attack, as confirmed by multiple news sources within Pakistan. There exists confusion as to how one Taliban claims responsibility for an act which another Taliban condemns. It may be understood that Afghan Talibans do not recognize the legality of armed struggle against Muslim Governments in any place other than Afghanistan and Palestine, which makes armed freedom struggle justified in those areas. Further, Afghan Taliban basically rejected the self-declared Caliphate of ISIL in Iraq (of Al Baghdadi) which the Pakistani Taliban accepted.
Afghan Taliban and its Chief Mullah Omar would be well advised to do something more meaningful than a press statement by going after TTP militants, who, according to Mullah Omar himself, violated Islamic principles. If you really are the Chief of Muslims Mullah Omar, then you should cut off all ties with the TTP, declare all out war on them, go after the remaining militants, capture the head of TTP (Mullah Faizullah), try him and publicly punish him in public.
This should be the Ameer´s number one responsibility, as the defender of the Muslim Community, the shield behind which all are in safety, since he has adorned the title of Ameer Ul Mumineen and therefore so he must act it too. Mullah Omar should capture the TTP militants before the Pakistani army does,is your chance Ameerul Mumineen, go after the thugs and deliver justice badly needed in a world gone wrong, very wrong.
TTP tried to damage control by saying that the orders were given not to kill small children, only the older ones were to be killed. Later another statement was released saying TTP did not kill any children, it was the soldiers who shot them. This is just not going to work, and they should know better than to follow up one criminal act with another (i.e. lying). No matter how much they try to cover their cowardly act the Muslim community will not be satisfied until this ugly episode of militancy is put to the grave. This is true for Pakistan and just about every other Muslim country.
TTP had the audacity to provide evidences from scriptural text to justify their actions. They should know that what they did was neither Islamic nor Jihadist. They are trying to twist the concept of Islam and Jihad, their aim is not to defend the community but to destroy it from inside and outside. Muslims and non-Muslims across the globe should by now be convinced about these suspects. Their agenda is anti-Islamic and they desire only to cripple the Muslim community (Ummah) in Pakistan and elsewhere. Some Pakistani tweets went so far as to provide proofs which showed TTP murderers came from another religion, and from another country.
Pakistan establishment has a lot to answer. The state was created out of undivided Hindustan to be a homeland for Hindustani Muslims. It failed again and again to do just that. Its failures caused the death of millions of Bengalis, thousands of Balochis, Pathans and Muahjirs (from India), as it tried to keep the unity of the country roped in by religion on one hand, subdued by guns on the other hand. This they do in order to keep their external strategy in tact (especially with the US and China) against their arch rival next door, and this is why the armed forces keep failing to do the single most important job for which they exist, that is to provide safety to the country and its citizens. History must also be blamed for having failed to teach them that reliance on foreign powers potentially manages to push the state towards civil war, counting millions of lives and half of the country as major losses.
Armed Forces should be held fully accountable for throwing as much as a stone on the citizens. The likes of Yahya, Niazi, Musharaf and others ought to be judged in a peoples´ tribunal for the killings in East Pakistan, Balochistan, Waziristan and Swat. They have no right to hand over their air space for drone attacks, they have no right to put the lives of citizens at risk for their selfish political military ambitions.
Fanaticism has grown as a direct consequence of the establishments plans for putting together a mass religious support base to take control of the reins of state power. Using religion in agnostic desire for power and money will collapse as a model for governance sooner or later, naturally. Pakistan was taught that lesson by the Bengalis in 71, yet here we are, tearful, broken hearted, psychologically shaken, emotionally broken, drenching in our blood soaked eyes for our innocent sacred hearts in Peshawar. May God have Mercy on all of them.