Pakistan marks the fifth anniversary of Army Public School carnage leading to the killing of 150 people including 133 children in a terrorist attack. Image Credit: Social media

Dubai: Five years have passed since 133 children of Pakistan Army School (APS) in Peshawar were killed in the worst terrorist attack in the country.

As the country marked the fifth anniversary of the APS carnage on December 16, grief stricken parents of innocent children are still looking for the outcome of the Commission report to answer their questions about the attack. A total of 150 people including 133 children and 17 staff members of the APS were killed when six armed terrorists belonging to Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) entered the school to carry out the horrific attack.

On Dec 16, 2014, armed militants wearing paramilitary uniforms had stormed the APS in Peshawar and opened fire in all directions. The attack on APS saw a shift in public opinion on the country’s struggle against militancy.

In the aftermath of the attack, the army intensified military operation Zarb-e-Azb in tribal areas where militants had previously operated with impunity, and the government announced to launch the sweeping National Action Plan to tackle militancy, Dawn news reported.

On the occasion of the fifth anniversay of the APS carange, Pakistan Prime Miniser Imran Khan said: “I will not allow the militant mindset to take of the country.

In a statement shared by the Prime Minister’s Office, the premier said that today is a day to remember and pray for the survivors and the victims of the attack.

“On this day while paying tribute to our young martyrs, we also laud the sacrifices of our armed forces, police and law-enforcing agencies in the fight against the scourge of terrorism.

“We pledge on this day not to allow any militant mindset to take our country and the nation hostage to its bigoted vision,” he said.

Chief of Army Staff (COAS) Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa in his message said that the APS carnage would never be forgotten.

In a tweet on Monday via the Inter-Services Public Relations account, Gen Bajwa stated: “Five of the involved terrorists have been hanged through military courts. Salute to martyrs and their families. We have come a long way in failing terrorism as a nation. United we move towards lasting peace and prosperity of Pakistan,” he said.

Pakistan President Arif Alvi in his message said the nation cannot forget the massacre of little angels/teachers”. “Hard to commemorate this day without tears in one’s eyes. In its remembrance, we reiterate our pledge to root out terrorism and extremism in all its manifestations from our country,” he said.

Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Chairperson Bilawal Bhutto Zardari called it a travesty that the APS commission report hasn’t been released so far.

“It is a failure of the state that justice has not been served. Its inexcusable that the National Action Plan (NAP) still isn’t implemented,” he said. “As a victim of terrorism, one who has yet to find justice, I know the pain of all those who lost loved ones. And to them I say, I am with you.”

Parents’ vigil

In the memories of their beloved martyred sons, the parents held a candlelit vigil on the APS Shuhada Memorial located outside the Peshawar Archives Library on Sunday.

Moving scenes were witnessed during the vigil and mourning procession as several mothers burst into tears while watching the pictures of their martyred children and discussing their memories.

The parents also held banners and pictures of their martyred children during the mourning procession, which emerged from the Archives Library and culminated at the Peshawar Press Club.

“We have not forgotten the martyrs of the APS tragedy,” read a banner.