Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Wednesday called for vengeance under portraits of children killed by Taliban bullets as the country marked the first anniversary of a school massacre that left 151 people dead in its worst-ever extremist attack.
“My children, today I make this promise to you, that I will take revenge for every drop of your blood,” Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said, addressing the victims directly.
The premier termed the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan attack on the army-run school on this day this last year, “an incident that shook the nation” and announced to commemorate December 16 as the ‘National Day for Educational Resolve’.
Recalling that after the attack, the civil, military leadership sat together, the premier said, “It was then, that I said desperate times call for desperate measures.”
Further, the prime minister also announced the construction of a university to honour the martyrs of APS victims. He also thanked the political leadership with whose cooperation the Constitution was amended to set up military courts and the National Action Plan (NAP) was formulated.
“We will take revenge for every drop of blood of our innocent children,” he said.
The prime minister vowed to permanently uproot the menace of terrorism from the country. “Time has come to uproot terrorism from the country. We will not allow anyone to play with the country’s peace,” he said.
The premier went on to inform the participants of the ceremony that the government was trying to restore peace and prosperity in the country.
“We have destroyed terror sanctuaries and no leniency will be given to those spreading terror,” he said. “Those who are the enemies of education are the enemies of humanity.” The prime minister also prayed for the forgiveness of APS victims.
Families of the victims along with military and political leaders attended an emotional ceremony at the army-run school in the northwestern city of Peshawar to mark the assault, which mostly claimed the lives of schoolchildren.
Relatives were accompanied by students bearing images of their loved ones as they spoke one by one of children with bright smiles who worried about their hair and handwriting but had dreams of being artists and engineers.
Army Chief General Raheel Sharif, Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee General Rashad Mahmood, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chief Imran Khan, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) Governor Sardar Mehtab Ahmed Khan Abbasi, K-P Chief Minister Pervez Khattak, Sindh Chief Minister Syed Qaim Ali Shah, Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif, Balochistan Chief Minister Sardar Abdul Malik Baloch and Gilgil-Baltistan Chief Minister Hafiz Hafizur Rehman and other federal ministers were also present on the occasion.
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. 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.