Today is the second anniversary of one of the worst terrorist attacks ever. On December 16, 2014, seven gunmen entered the Army Public School of Peshawar, Pakistan, where the children of military officers studied, and indiscriminately opened fire, trying to kill as many schoolboys as they could until they were defeated by Pakistani special forces. In the end, 141 people were killed, including 132 schoolchildren from eight to eighteen years of age. It is the deadliest terrorist attack in Pakistan’s history and one of the world’s worst atrocities. The people of Pakistan have consistently suffered from terrorism for more than a decade, but this took it to a whole new level.
Each and every child killed in the attack represents the snuffing out of a long life full of opportunity and hope that was ahead, endless grief and suffering for a family, and a loss for the nation. Each of the adults killed, many of whom died protecting students, also is a major loss to their families and to the children of the school who survive. We must never forget them. We must never forget this tragedy.
The most important thing is the lessons to be learnt. We must not allow something like this to ever happen again. The attack moved Pakistan into action and the nation has indeed come a long way in curbing terrorism. We all must continue to act. We need to end the threat of terrorism and to keep our people safe. Pakistan has a future only when its children live in complete safety and security.
And this is why we must always remember.