Nation mourns, world condemns Taliban attack on Pakistan army school

Thursday, December 18, 2014

In the wake of Tuesday's high-school attack by the Pakistani Taliban (TTK) on an army public school, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif announced a three-day period of official mourning. In addition to condemnation from world leaders — who include UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, the President of the European Parliament Martin Schulz, and Deputy director David Griffiths of Amnesty International — news agency Reuters are reporting the Afghan Taliban have also issued a statement condemning the attack.

The statement carried by Reuters, claiming to be from Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid, reads: "The intentional killing of innocent people, children and women are against the basics of Islam and this criteria has to be considered by every Islamic party and government." Tuesday's attack on the Army Public School in Pakistan's north-western city of Peshawar claimed the lives of 132 children, and nine staff from the school.

Official reports, following police and military action against the attackers, insist seven people took part in the school attack; although a statement, issued by the TTK, insists there were only six, their targets being older pupils. The attack began in the mid morning local time, with the assailants observed entering the compound wearing suicide vests. Shortly thereafter, shots were heard with survivors reporting the gunmen were shooting people indiscriminately, going from classroom to classroom, killing teachers and students as they found them.

The massacre sparked a public outcry, both national and international; which, press speculate, led to the TTK stressing the intent to only target older students at the army school.

Turkey announced one day of national mourning. Described as impossible to justify and "blood-curdling" by the UN Secretary-General, EU Parliamentary President Schulz labelled the attack "abominable and cowardly [demonstrating] the inhuman attitude of the Taliban, their inhuman ideology, their remorseless fanaticism", and Indian Nobel Prize-winner Kailash Satyarthi, condemned the attackers as "enemies of Allah" and stated: "The militants, be they Taliban or any other militants, who kill children, are the enemies of humanity. This attack is a blot on humanity".

In addition to a three-day period of national mourning, President Sharif reintroduced Pakistan's death penalty.