Washington D.C. Stands with Peshawar

Posted December 19th, 2014 at 8:55 pm (UTC+0)

by Niala Mohammad

Why innocent children? What kinds of monsters target children?”  Crowds of people gathered in DuPont circle with tearful disbelief at the events that unfolded in Peshawar. Hundreds gathered in Washington, DC’s DuPont Circle to light candles for the 141 lives lost in Peshawar, 132 of which were children.

Photo-Credit Sara Sultan Kiani

Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) spokesman, Muhammad Khorasani immediately claimed responsibility for the gruesome attack and stated, “the attack was in retaliation to the military operations in North Waziristan and Khyber tribal agency. We selected the army’s school for the attack because the government is targeting our families and females…we want them to feel the same pain.” He further boasted, “Six of our fighters successfully entered the army school and we were giving them instructions from outside.”

More than 1,000 students, from preschool to high school, were on the campus when the attack began. The six Taliban terrorist who stormed the Army Public School in Peshawar on Wardak Road entered classrooms and auditoriums opening fire on students and teachers, then walked around methodically shooting those that were still alive in the head and chest.

Surviving students tell their daunting stories that will likely haunt them for the remainder of their lives. One such survivor, Bilal Fayaz, told VOA Deewa Radio that his teacher and class were trying to exit the school building when Bialal’s friend Awais innocently ran ahead of his class anxious to escape. Bilal Fayaz said, “our madam and I told Awais not to run….but he didn’t listen. The Taliban saw him running and shot him head on.”

Another 8th grade student named Bilal Ahmed Khalil told VOA Deewa Radio, “I was stuck in the classroom. My friends and teacher were shot and killed in front of me. I played dead as the Taliban walked over me and the dead bodies of my friends on the classroom floor.” Bilal lost his two best friends Fahad and Tayyab in the attack.

Fahad (R), Tayyab (M) and Bilal (R)

Parents and family members of the schoolchildren shared similar horrific stories. Sajjad Khan told Deewa Radio that he received a phone call from his brother-in-law, who received a frantic alert from one of the school teachers caught inside the building with his classroom.The teacher was begging for help to save his classroom kids. Sajjad and his brother-in-law Saifullah Khan quickly reached the school but the Pakistani Army had surrounded the compound and asked the parents to stand back. Sajjad pleaded, “My kids are inside, how can I just stand here?

parent with children

Parents anxiously stood for hours outside of the Army Public School awaiting the fate of their children. Some were overjoyed with relief to see their sons and daughters amidst the crowds of children being scurried out, while other less fortunate parents awaited their child’s fate, frightened and inconsolable. Eighteen year old Mubeen Shah Afridi, a popular student at APS returned home to his mother in a coffin. Mrs Shah holds Mubeen’s clothes to her chest and wails uncontrollably, she keeps repeating, “he went to school without eating breakfast.”

Mubeen Shah Afridi

Bollywood actor Anupam Kher stated it best, “Your dastardly act today will have united parents everywhere and earned you their curses.” Parents and children around the world have stood by Peshawar during this time of mourning, offering support and encouragement to break their long kept silence against the Taliban’s atrocities. The nation’s capital-Washington D.C.  is familiar with the pain of seeing their children suffer as there have been an estimated 96 school shootings in America over the past two years. Perhaps this is why so many stood in solidarity with Peshawar on Tuesday evening.


Contributions and Photo-Credits:

Sara Sultan Kiani, Bilal Ahmed Khan, Hashim Ali and Arshad Mohmand

5 responses to “Washington D.C. Stands with Peshawar”

  1. Erik Zackerman says:

    The terrorism scourge has plagued Pakistan for nearly a decade and it is horrifying that each government and security forces have failed to take notice of this chronic situation. Perhaps sovereignty and security of its masses takes a back seat with its leaders. The heads should resign as they have failed to deliver their responsibilities.

  2. JJ. Khurana says:

    Terror is terror. Do not go by some Gulf country or Pakistani notion that terror is good against the enemy but bad against your government’s interest. Terror must be eliminated by all concerted efforts of all democratic countries whether it is in Russia’s Chechenia, India’s Kashmir, in Afghanistan, in Pakistan, in the Mid Eastern countries and recently on the African continent…anywhere. Otherwise, it is a monster in the making. No country can ever be safe from its primative, inhuman & barbaric religious convictions.

  3. F. Khan says:

    Children mowed down by a deliberate act is a tragedy beyond comprehension. A whole destiny of each one snatched not by an act of God but that of man. What roses would they have smelled; what thrills of achievements they would miss and what heaps of ordinary experience they would never know. What can make up for all these unknown joys; nothing comes to mind.

  4. saman khalil says:

    I love you mubeen shah may Allah subhan a tallah grant jannah to al those beloved souls of Peshawar and give peace to their souls and their family and may Allah take good care of all those injured and every child on this earth! Every child has a right yo live, educate and be happy at all time so my blessings and heart are with you #Peshawar#children

  5. Sahar says:

    Mubeen shah never forget your smile inshallah I am comeing to I don’t like this life but sometime I am say don’t say that because when you say that than Allah said but I am waiting for Allah when allah tell me come than I am going inshallah

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