Eight years after the gruesome attack on Army Public School (APS), the memories of the tragic and haunting incident are still fresh in the minds of the people as today marks the eighth anniversary of the tragedy.
Politicians and other well-known personalities remembered the martyrs of the tragic day, recalling the incident that struck Peshawar on December 16, 2014.
Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, taking to Twitter, said today is the day to pay tribute to the martyrs of APS and share the grief of their families.
“The Pakistani nation will never forget the sacrifices of its martyrs,” wrote the premier.
“December 16 is the day for the whole of Pakistan to be united against terrorism. This struggle of ours is going on, which will continue with the same iron will and perseverance until the complete elimination of evil,” he added.
Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan said that December 16 is the day that the nation will never forget when one of the most horrific acts of terrorism in our history happened — the attack on innocent children of APS Peshawar and their teachers.
“It is also the day when we came together as a nation and resolved to take on and defeat terrorism,” he added.
Meanwhile, PTI leader Faisal Javed said that the whole nation pays homage to the great sacrifices by the young martyrs of Army Public School today.
“Salute to their mothers, to their courage who bore the unbearable pain of being separated from their sons and daughters,” he added.
Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah said that the APS tragedy is one the saddest events in the country’s history when terrorists attacked innocent and young children and martyred them.
“The wound is still fresh even after eight years. The martyrs showed the entire nation a way to unite against terrorism and religious extremism,” he added.
PTI Secretary General Asad Umar said that the worst tragedy in the history of Pakistan took place on December 16.
“However, we have learned nothing from this tragedy, unfortunately,” added Umar.
Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) Hina Parvez Butt said that the wounds of December 16 are fresh once again. She said that she still remembers the faces when she thinks about that day.
Moreover, Pakistan all-rounder Shoaib Malik said: “It’s been 8 years and we can still feel the pain of APS Attacks.”
“May Almighty give patience to all the parents who lost their children that day. Gone but never forgotten!” he added.
Meanwhile, parents and families of the victims, civil society organisations and the school management will hold Quran khwani and peace processions at different venues in the city. The main function would be arranged at the school and near the martyrs’ memoir.
The photos of martyred students and teachers are affixed with every pole of streetlights in the cantonment area by the authorities. Candlelight and peace procession would also be arranged to mark the day.
Some 147 people, mostly students, had been killed in the deadly attack on the APS in 2014. The wounds of the parents are yet to be healed. Their eyes are still wet and swollen in remembrance of their beloved children.
Tufail Khattak is one such parent, who lost his 10-grade son Sher Shah in the tragedy. He said that he could not forget his lost son even for a single moment after his tragic demise.
“He was my elder son. I had dreamt of a very successful future for him. He was very talented. He left us so early,” he said.
Ahmad Khattak, the brother of late Sher Shah, said: “My brother bravely sacrificed his life while protecting me. Young Sher Shah earned bravery and gallantry. He proved that there is the strongest bond in the world between brothers.”
The siblings of the martyrs have been unable to forget their brothers. “I shall rise and shine again,” is the quote repeated by them, while remembering their brothers.