Massacre at Peshawar School, a terrorist attack in which seven heavily armed Taliban militants attacked an army-run primary and secondary school in Peshawar, Pakistan, on 16 December 2014, killing 150 people, at least 134 of whom were students.
WHAT EXACTLY HAPPENED ON THAT DAY?
More than 1,000 staff members and students were held by the Army Public School at the time of the incident; many of the pupils were children of military personnel. The terrorists started their assault in the middle of the morning when, by scaling a wall, they entered the large compound. They bombed their own cars, according to some sources, to create a diversion for school guards. They continued to fire indiscriminately after entering the main assembly hall, where a large number of students were taking a first aid lesson. The perpetrators, armed with grenades and assault rifles, then went to the classrooms, aiming their fire on teachers and older kids. They only tried to kill, according to official reports, and made no effort to take hostages.
At some point, commandos from the Pakistani army's Special Services Division arrived and finally succeeded in cornering the attackers, all of whom were wearing explosive-lined suicide vests. In the confrontation, the attackers died and some of the soldiers were hit by shrapnel from their vests. It has been estimated that the assault lasted about eight hours. Alarmed parents gathered at the gates of the school compound even as it continued. According to different sources, the gunmen killed 150 people, and more than 100 were injured.
The Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), the Pakistani branch of the Taliban, a militant Islamic organization, claimed responsibility for the massacre. The leaders of the TTP tried to justify the massacre as revenge for violent attacks by the government on its members. The most likely provocation, in the view of experienced analysts, was Operation Zarb-e-Azb, a government anti-militant offensive in one of Pakistan's tribal regions, North Waziristan.
The massacre aroused condemnation worldwide. In response, after a six-year moratorium, Pakistan restored the death penalty and executed several alleged Taliban militants.
WHAT AFTER THE INCIDENT?
Lifting the ban on terrorist executions
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif authorised paperwork on 17 December 2014 to lift the ban on the death penalty in terror-related cases. Sources from the Secretariat of the Prime Minister stated: "The Prime Minister has approved abolishment of moratorium on the execution of death penalty in terrorism-related cases."
Since 2008, Pakistan has had a moratorium on executions. In terrorism-related cases, there are reportedly approximately 800 inmates on death row in Pakistan. The move follows the commonly held belief that terrorists in Pakistan are never brought to justice. The judges and witnesses are also too afraid to come forward and give the terrorists sufficient sentences. And even though terrorists are convicted and sent to prison, a number of jailbreaks have occurred in Pakistan's fragile police system, including the Bannu and Dera Ismail Khan jailbreaks, in which many high-profile terrorists fled.