Last week, Pakistan’s deadliest militant group warned that anyone following in the footsteps of 2014 Nobel Peace Prize winner and school activist MalalaYousufzai would be killed.
“We will kill those Malalas, those who are following Malala Yousafzai,” Pakistan’s Tehreek-e-Taliban vowed.
On Tuesday, the group followed through with its threat.
Seven attackers massacred a Pakistani military-run high school in Peshawar, executing at least 141 people, mostly children, in one of the deadliest attacks in Pakistan’s history. Within the first 20 minutes of the attack, the men had already executed more than 60 children, Pakistani sources told TheBlaze via Skype.
A police official in Peshawar told Sajid — a source who lives in the city and spoke to TheBlaze on the condition that he be identified by a pseudonym — that the men were allowed to enter the school because they were wearing official Pakistani army uniforms. Sajid’s 14 year-old cousin was killed in the attack, and Sajid has received direct threats to his life from the TTP.
He said hospital officials at Lady Reading Hospital still have six dead children that have yet to be identified.
“These people are not human, they are not Muslim, they are monsters,” Sajid said.
The hours-long attack with ended with the deaths of 132 children, ages 10 through 18, and nine staff members: five female teachers, three guards and one security person. All of the attackers died, though it wasn’t clear whether they were shot by soldiers or detonated explosive vests, the Associated Press reported.
Sajid said TTP sent the warning about Yousafzai to members of the Pakistani media on Dec. 10. Yousafzai — now known predominantly by her first name, Malala — was shot by the Taliban in an October 2012 because of her fight to see all children of Pakistan educated.
“Democracy is black law and nowadays, Western countries, NGOs, media outlets and political parties are trying their best to strengthen this black system within and this system is main cause of present situation where everyone is facing hardships, there is no justice and people are facing the worst law and order situation,” read the five-page Taliban document, which Sajid translated from Urdu for TheBlaze.
“Unfortunately the father of Malala Yousafzai ( Ziauddin Yousafzai) is a greedy and selfish man. He wants fame, that’s the main reason that he sold the respect and honor of his daughter and pushed her in the hands of NGOs. Ziauddin violated Pashtun code and the Islamic principle just for getting fame in the world,” the document said. “Ziauddin pushed Malala to fight the Islamic principles and now Malala is against the Islamic code and principle. So we believe that holy war will continue till the doomsday, and we will continue our fight against the people like Malala and Ziauddin, who are working in the hands of NGOs and violating Islamic principles.”
A spokesman for the TTP said its actions Tuesday were also in retaliation for the recent large-scale and ongoing military operations by the Pakistan army in an area of North Waziristan, which is home to the militants and numerous foreign fighters.
“We selected the army’s school for the attack because the government is targeting our families and females,” Muhammad Khurasani in a statement. “We want them to feel the pain.”
Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif made an emergency visit to Peshawar and said in a press conference that military operations would continue against the militants in North Waziristan and that security forces will also launch operations against the militants in other tribal areas. He also announced a three-day nationwide mourning for the children killed.
Sajid, who has been under direct threat from the Taliban for more than a month, said he pulled his own children out of school in Peshawar several weeks ago and is now in hiding with his wife and children.
“I was worried that something like this would happen for more than a week,” he said.
“I think today the Taliban sent a very clear message and people will no longer want to send their children to school,” he said. “They are afraid. The Taliban did this in response to Malala’s activism and her great victory against them as she fights for education for all of Pakistan’s children.”
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