Thursday, December 18, 2014
Originally posted by daily mail.
The first devastating images emerged today of the blood-soaked classrooms where 141 innocent children and 10 teachers were massacred by the Taliban.
Dead children piled up in their classroom
Horrifying pictures revealed the carnage wrought by seven extremist gunmen who sprayed children with bullets as they sat receiving first aid tuition and exploded suicide bombs in a room of 60 pupils.
As the Pakistani city of Peshawar began the harrowing process of conducting mass funerals, the family of a teacher torched alive in front of her class gathered to say funeral prayers.
Tahira Kazi, the principal of the Army Public School and College in Peshawar, was set on fire by jihadists who slaughtered so many.
It is believed she was targeted because she is married to a retired army colonel, Kazi Zafrullah. The picture obtained by MailOnline shows her standing proudly next to a student believed to be her son.
Today the Pakistani prime minister lifted a moratorium on the death penalty, as the school reopened to reveal the terrifying aftermath of the atrocity, including Mrs Kazi's office, where a terrorist blew himself up.
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A blood-soaked book lies abandoned and trodden on the floor of the school following Tuesday's attack
Pictures of a blood splattered doorway leading to an auditorium and the scene of the final gun battle also emerged.
In a grim tour of the building photographers were shown inside the auditorium.
The floor is caked in blood in places and dozens of chairs lie in disarray, knocked over by children running for cover as the terrorists hosed them with bullets.
The lucky ones, it transpired, survived by playing dead under these chairs as the gunmen stalked the room, searching for children they'd missed.
As people around the world united to condemn the attack, the Taliban gloatingly published pictures of the fighters responsible for the slaughter.
A series of chilling images shows them lined up with assault rifles and rocket launchers.
The massacre led to calls for the death penalty to be restored. 'It was decided that this moratorium should be lifted. The prime minister approved,' said government spokesman Mohiuddin Wan, referring to Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif's approval of the decision by a ministerial committee.
A moratorium on the death penalty was imposed in 2008 and only one execution has taken place since then.
Tahira Kazi (left), the principal of the Army Public School and College in Peshawar, was set on fire by jihadists who slaughtered 142 people, most of them children
It is believed Mrs Kazi (right) was targeted because she's married to a retired army colonel, Kazi Javaid
The government declared a three-day mourning period, starting on Wednesday. The authorities also warned schools to be vigilant, as intelligence has been received by police suggesting terrorists are planning to attach magnetic bombs to school buses, according to Sky News.
Some of the funerals were held overnight, but most of the 132 children and 10 school staff members killed in the attack were to be buried Wednesday. Another 121 students and three staff members were wounded.
Some of the critically wounded adults - members of the school staff - died overnight, and authorities raised the overall death toll to 148.
Hundreds of people attended the funeral prayer for Mrs Kazi, held in a field of wheat crops.
Her son Ahmedullah, 23, said that he was proud of his mother.
'She was more committed to the students of the school than her family,' he said.
Ahmedullah said that he last met her on Tuesday morning, for breakfast, the day she was killed and burnt alive.
He told MailOnline: 'Her vehicle came late that day, so we talked about different things. She was so happy for her students. She told me that she would have a busy day ahead. She left home for school around 8:45 am.'
At around 10:45 he heard about the attack and tried to call her.
He continued: 'I started trying her cell number but for an hour it remained busy. I tried dozens of the time but couldn't reach her and after an hour her cell turned off. Later her personal assistant (PA) told me that she was busy talking to parents of the students. Her PA told us that she had the opportunity to leave the school.'
Her elder brother Kazi Karimullah, 67, who is a banker by profession, said that she was a passionate, dedicated and committed person.
Hundreds of people attended the funeral prayer for Mrs Kazi, held in a field of wheat crops
Mrs Kazi's body is moved to the grave at her funeral, which took place today
Mourning: Mrs Kazi's body is carried by relatives at her funeral today
Mrs Kazi's son, Ahmedullah (centre), said that he was proud of his mother. Pictured are friends and relatives at her funeral
Mrs Kazi's elder brother Kazi Karimullah (pictured) said that she was a passionate, dedicated and committed person
Mother-of-three Tahira Kazi was well loved by students, family and friends, with hundreds attending her funeral
He said: 'We were more friends than siblings. She was very sweet person. She was very close to me. We used to meet almost everyday. This is true that she used to give school more time than her home.
'She had that smiling face. But I could not see her face for more than a second after she was killed. It was so horrible. It was burnt and I could not even imagine my sister in that shape. I could not dare see her body more than once.'
Mother of three Tahira Kazi was very popular among her students, too.
'She was not an angry principal but a very disciplined one,' said 18-year-old grade 12 APS student Muhammad Tajdar. 'I have never saw her hitting a student or in an angry mood. She came to our class last time on Thursday last week and asked us to focus on our studies.'
Tajdar was there when terrorists attacked the school.
Ehsan Elahi, 13, has revealed the horror he witnessed in the auditorium
He said: 'I was on second floor of building with my class fellow when I heard firing. I saw three young men clad in black uniform jumping the back wall of the school. They were carrying guns and hand grenades. They started firing the bullets straight to the students. We quickly got into a classroom, locked the door and put chairs and benches in front of the door.
'There were at least 25 students in that classroom. We heard the cries of the students and teachers but we stayed silent. We were shivering with fear.'
Another shocking account of the massacre came from 13-year-old survivor Ehsan Elahi, an eighth grade student who was busy with his classmates learning first aid training from army instructors at the main hall of the school when he heard the sound of gunfire nearby.
He told MailOnline: 'Our teachers and instructors asked us to calm down but the sound of the bullets started came closer and closer. In the next minute, the glass of windows and doors of the hall smashed with bullets. Some people started kicking the hall doors.'
He said that situation created panic among the 100 students in the hall.
He said: 'Everybody was trying to find a place to hide but there was not such places in the hall. The students were crying and weeping. There were only chairs and benches to hide behind in the hall. I jumped behind a bench and laid on the ground.' He said the attackers burst in and started 'spraying bullets like hell'.
The school has been left wrecked and desolate by the horrific gun and grenade rampage
Huge bullet holes are seen across the wall of a classroom in the school in Peshawar. It took nine hours of fighting to kill the fanatics
The markings reflected the horror that went on inside the school's walls during Tuesday's massacre
Gruesome: Some of the walls in the school are caked in blood - a chilling legacy of the massacre
Blood traces are seen in the debris of a part of the conference hall inside the army-run school
The attack, which started around 10am yesterday, left 148 dead - 132 of them children
Chairs were turned over, as bullet holes adorned the walls in one of the rooms at the school
The bullet holes had shattered the plaster around most of the school, reflecting the sheer horror which happened during the attack
Elahi continued: 'I saw army instructors falling on the ground first. I saw many of my friends getting bullets on their heads, chests, arms and legs right in front of me. Their body parts and blood were flying like small pieces of cotton in the class room.
'Warm blood and flesh of my friends fell on my face and other parts of my body. It was horrible. They kept on firing bullets for at least 10 minutes and then stopped. It was a pause of a maximum of a minute. Next moment, they started spraying bullets again towards those who were crying with pain or moving. I also received two bullets on my right arm. I wanted to cry with my full voice but I held my pain and did not cry because it meant death.'
Elahi explained how his life was eventually saved by Pakistani soldiers.
He said: 'They were not ready to leave alive even a single person present in the hall. After around 15 minutes, we heard some bullets shots from outside. I think army soldiers reached the school by that time and they fired those bullets. This diverted the attention of the attackers. They ran out from the hall. But, I did not move or cried for next 10 minutes unless army men came to rescue us.
'The hall has turned to pool of blood and death. Human blood, flesh and body parts were scattered everywhere. I saw lifeless faces of many of my friends when I was leaving the hall. Their faces are still in front of my eyes.'
Images of the aftermath of the attack reveal something of its horror, with some parts of the school completely ruined
Children ran for their lives during the attack, leaving overturned desks behind them
Tragic scene: Pakistani journalists film and photograph inside an auditorium of the Army Public School
Chairs are upturned and blood stains the floor at the Army Public School auditorium
More horrifying accounts have emerged of another female teacher being burned alive as she courageously stood in the path of the terrorists and told her children to run for their lives.
Afsha Ahmed, 24, confronted the marauding gunmen when they burst into her classroom and told them: 'You can only kill my students over my dead body.'
The militants doused her with petrol and set her alight, but she still mustered the strength to beckon her pupils to flee.
Hifsa Khush is thought to have been burned alive in front of her pupils after being doused in petrol.
One of her students, 15-year-old Irfan Ullah, wept as he recalled her incredible bravery.
He said: 'She was a hero, so brave.
'She jumped up and stood between us and the terrorists before they could target us.
'She warned them: 'You can only kill them over my dead body'. I remember her last words - she said: 'I won't see my students lying in blood on the floor'.'
Irfan, who suffered serious injuries to his chest and stomach in the chaos, said he hoped Mrs Ahmed would forgive him for not trying to protect her and for any mistakes he ever made in class.
'I felt so selfish as we ran away to safe our lives instead of trying to save our teacher who sacrificed her life for our better tomorrow,' he added.
Another teacher, Hifsa Khush, is also thought to have been burned alive in front of her pupils after being doused in petrol.
Prayer vigils were held across the nation and in other schools, students spoke of their shock at the carnage in Peshawar, where seven Taliban gunmen, explosives strapped to their bodies, scaled a back wall using a ladder to get into the military-run establishment in the morning hours on Tuesday.
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A school noticeboard stands amid debris and pock-marked walls
Tragic: Dawood Ibrahim is the only member of class 9 left. He didn't go to school on the morning of the attack because his alarm didn't go off
Indian Muslim children pray at a madrasa, or religious school, for Tuesday's Taliban attack victims in Ahmadabad
People attend the funeral of a student killed in Tuesday's Taliban attack in Peshawar
Pakistani mourners carry the coffin of a teacher killed in the masscre during his funeral
Mourners and relatives of Pakistani teacher Saeed Khan, a victim of a Taliban attack in a school, pray around his body in Peshawar
The attack was the deadliest slaughter of innocents in the country and horrified a nation already weary of unending terrorist assaults.
Army commandos fought the Taliban in a day-long battle until the school was cleared and the attackers dead.
'They finished in minutes what I had lived my whole life for, my son,' said laborer Akhtar Hussain, tears streaming down his face as he buried his 14-year-old, Fahad. He said he had worked for years in Dubai to earn a livelihood for his children.
'That innocent one is now gone in the grave, and I can't wait to join him, I can't live anymore,' he wailed, banging his fists against his head.
'The attackers came around 10:30 a.m. on a pick-up van,' said Issam Uddin, a 25-year-old school bus driver.
'They drove it around the back of the school and set it on fire to block the way. Then they went to Gate 1 and killed a soldier, a gatekeeper and a gardener. Firing began and the first suicide attack took place.'
The Taliban said the attack was revenge for a military offensive against their safe havens in the northwest, along the border with Afghanistan, which began in June. Analysts said the school siege showed that even diminished, the militant group still could inflict horrific carnage.
Pakistani health workers treat a student at a hospital a day after the atrocity
Over a hundred students were wounded in the rampage by Taliban gunmen
Pakistani villagers stand around the grave for the Army Public School's principal, Mrs Kazi
People light candles to pay tribute to students of the Army Public School
Poignant: A group photograph of Army Public School students
Pakistani women in Peshawar hold flowers to pay tribute to Army Public School students
Candles are lit in Karachi for victims of the attack as the country tries to come to terms with what happened
A member of a civil society group in Peshawar holds an anti-Taliban placard to condemn the attack
Protesters in Islamabad display their anger at the Taliban for the attack on the children
Heartbreaking: Photographs of some of the students massacred by Taliban gunmen
The attack drew swift condemnation from around the world. President Barack Obama said the 'terrorists have once again showed their depravity.'
Pakistan's teenage Nobel Peace laureate Malala Yousafzai - herself a survivor of a Taliban shooting - said she was 'heartbroken' by the bloodshed.
Even Taliban militants in neighboring Afghanistan decried the killing spree, calling it 'un-Islamic.'
Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif pledged to step up the campaign that - along with U.S. drone strikes - has targeted the militants.
'We will take account of each and every drop of our children's blood,' said Sharif, who rushed to Peshawar shortly after the attack to offer support for the victims.
At a top-level meeting in Peshawar he said: 'We must not forget these scenes. The way they left bullet holes in the bodies of innocent kids, the way they tore apart their faces with bullets.'
Sharif said he spoke to Afghan President Ashraf Ghani late Tuesday to discuss how both countries could do more to fight terrorism. The two agreed to launch fresh operations on their respective sides of the border, he said, and pledged to 'clean this region from terrorism.'
In neighboring India, which has long accused Pakistan of supporting anti-India guerrillas, schools on Wednesday observed two minutes of silence for the Peshawar victims at the urging of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who called the attack 'a senseless act of unspeakable brutality.'
Ziauddin Yousafzai, Pakistani diplomat and the father of Malala Yousafzai, told the BBC Today programme that his family was traumatised by the atrocity.
He said: 'Yesterday we heard about this horrible news, my whole family was in trauma. It is the extreme of extremism.
'I can imagine how much sadness, terror and horror those families will be passing through now.
'Yesterday my wife had a fit, she went into unconsciousness for five to 10 minutes. I have never seen my daughter so sad and upset as I saw her yesterday.
'Schools should be safe places for children. I am afraid that if they [Taliban] are not countered, we may see more horrible things in future.'