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Schoolchildren cross a road as they move away from the school after it was attacked. - Reuters/File photo
Schoolchildren cross a road as they move away from the school after it was attacked. - Reuters/File photo

PESHAWAR: A teenage survivor of Tuesday's Taliban attack on Army Public School in Peshawar, described how he played dead after being shot in both legs by insurgents hunting down students to kill.

Militants rampaged through the army-run school in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa's capital and killed at least 130 people, most of them children, in one of the bloodiest attacks in Pakistan.

Speaking from his bed in the trauma ward of the city's Lady Reading Hospital, Salman*, 16, said he and his classmates were in a careers-guidance session in the school auditorium when four gunmen wearing paramilitary uniforms burst in.

“Someone screamed at us to get down and hide below the desks,” he said, adding that the gunmen shouted “Allahu akbar” (God is greatest) before opening fire.

“Then one of them shouted: 'There are so many children beneath the benches, go and get them',” Salman told AFP.

"I saw a pair of big black boots coming towards me, this guy was probably hunting for students hiding beneath the benches."

Salman said he felt searing pain as he was shot in both his legs just below the knee. He decided to play dead, adding: "I folded my tie and pushed it into my mouth so that I wouldn't scream. The man with big boots kept on looking for students and pumping bullets into their bodies. I lay as still as I could and closed my eyes, waiting to get shot again," he said.

"My body was shivering. I saw death so close and I will never forget the black boots approaching me. I felt as though it was death that was approaching me," Salman added further.

The Army Public School is attended by boys and girls from both military and civilian backgrounds.

As his father, a shopkeeper, comforted him in his blood-soaked bed, Salman recalled: “The men left after some time and I stayed there for a few minutes. Then I tried to get up but fell to the ground because of my wounds. When I crawled to the next room, it was horrible. I saw the dead body of our office assistant on fire,” he said.

"She was sitting on the chair with blood dripping from her body as she burned," Salman added.

It was not immediately clear how the female employee's body caught fire, though her remains were also later seen by an AFP reporter in a hospital mortuary.

Salman, who said he also saw the body of a soldier who worked at the school, crawled behind a door to hide and then lost consciousness.

“When I woke up I was lying on the hospital bed,” he added.

The Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan has claimed responsibility for the attack as retaliation for a major military offensive in the region, saying its militants had been ordered to shoot older students.

*Name has been changed.

DAWN_VIDEO - /1029551/DAWN-RM-1x1

LARGE_RECTANGLE_BOTTOM - /1029551/Dawn_ASA_Unit_670x280


Comments (72) Closed



Abhishek Tomar
Dec 16, 2014 06:51pm

I did not react the way I should have when I heard the news but my eyes were in tears when I saw my son when I reached home...May god bless their souls...RIP

Agnos
Dec 16, 2014 06:52pm

Wishing a speedy recovery for the boy and I fervently hope that this horrible experience doesn't traumatise him for the rest of his life. May he live in peace and good health... You are a brave and smart lad young man. Wishing you the very best.

Fahad
Dec 16, 2014 06:52pm

I wonder the impact of this incident on the rest of this innocent kid's whole life. You can heal the wounds but can you alter the fears and trauma that this kid and so many others like him faced? Death to Taliban, death to extremism in the name of religion.

Satyarth
Dec 16, 2014 06:57pm

Reading this sent shivers down my spine. Condolences from India. I pray to almighty that the families get the courage to bear with this tragedy. May God's wrath fall on the Talibanis.

Muzamil
Dec 16, 2014 06:57pm

God bless you Son...! God Bless all those who have lost their lives Today...! have no other words..!

asgher
Dec 16, 2014 06:59pm

no prisoners no mercy!!!! All Talibans in our jails to hang in every nearby school from that jail tomorrow!!! All parents must demand this very sharply. Nawaz Sharif must lift the hold on capital punishments. Why is he breeding talibans on death sentences in our jails what is the reason behind this crazy decision?????

Javeed
Dec 16, 2014 06:59pm

Is there a word to describe what these beasts did. I am devastated after hearing this. May God give the parents who lost their kids, strength to bear this loss. Pak army get these beasts where ever they are and show them what pain means!

Talha
Dec 16, 2014 06:59pm

It is time to seal the border with Afghanistan and then launch a full offensive so that these coward extremists have no where to run. Prayers for these innocent children and their parents.

Yasir
Dec 16, 2014 07:02pm

This broke my heart.

AHA
Dec 16, 2014 07:05pm

People of Pakistan need to decide what we want for ourselves. Please, please, please, start thinking. Stop blaming others. Look inside.

Amin Ansari
Dec 16, 2014 07:06pm

May Allah bless you Salman and your family. May Allah always protect you. My prayers and best wishes will always be with you.

Indian 08
Dec 16, 2014 07:07pm

Politicians divides Us, Terrorism unites Us.

Irony but true.

Rip little angels.

We shares your pain From-india

Ali
Dec 16, 2014 07:23pm

A very sad and distressing account. It is very disturbing to imagine what these innocent children and their families went through.

A very sad day for humanity.

Toordada
Dec 16, 2014 07:38pm

Now I am speechless. seven years ago I said , we need to stop them in Swat but no one listened. Everyone was making excuses for these animals. Now the whole nation is paying the price.

Anand
Dec 16, 2014 07:44pm

Dear all, today my heart bleeds for the children and families who lost their life for the barbaric act of terrorists in a school at Peshawar, Pakistan.

Rest in peace all departed young souls... Pakistani friends, we are with you at this juncture of grief.... Amen...

Rehan Sadiq
Dec 16, 2014 07:45pm

Very sad indeed.At an age when children look onto the plans for their future,they had to go through such a tragedy. If these inhumans think that by killing all those who might be a part of an army in future, they will succeed then they are wrong!The more they kill,the triple the people will rise against them!!

Anand
Dec 16, 2014 07:46pm

Dear all, today my heart bleeds for the children and families who lost their life for the barbaric act of terrorists in a school at Peshawar, Pakistan.

Rest in peace all departed young souls... Pakistani friends, we are with you at this juncture of grief.... Amen...

Ammara
Dec 16, 2014 07:48pm

such a shame..feeling tormented..prayers for the kids

Hmr
Dec 16, 2014 07:50pm

The pain and fear is beyond imagination.. One cannot possibly even think about the terror, he suffered through.... "Horrific Gutwrenching experience"....

sap india
Dec 16, 2014 07:50pm

What a gruesome act ...my god really shaken me even while reading

yogi
Dec 16, 2014 08:00pm

No words. Yogi

yogi
Dec 16, 2014 08:01pm

No words. Yogi

NORI
Dec 16, 2014 08:17pm

I have no words to express my pain. As a father, I shudder to think of something so gruesome. May God Almighty provide strength to the bereaved parents and help Pakistani nation in overcoming this extreme tragedy.

Ram Lakhan
Dec 16, 2014 08:36pm

Socked to listen to this horrific news. heart go out for victims, their families, and loved one. Tough time for them. Rest in peace departed souls.

Noman
Dec 16, 2014 08:48pm

The thing we need to do it is crush taliban and its patrons. For this purpose we need to help our army to trace them out from within r society

Anuj
Dec 16, 2014 09:23pm

Terrible, unbelievable. My heart goes out for the families of the victims. This is horrible. God please give strength to the families and parents. Our hearts are full of pain for these young children and families across the border in Pakistan.

Pakistani1986
Dec 16, 2014 09:25pm

Thank you very much for responsible reporting by keeping the child's name anonymous. Appreciate the considerate behavior.

Mehtab
Dec 16, 2014 09:39pm

Peak of barbarism

Baba De Kamaqlano
Dec 16, 2014 09:56pm

May Allah grant Janat to all the Shuhada of this sad incident. It is the job of infidels even if they claim to be Muslims because as per Quraan there is no forgiveness from Allah to those who have the blood of innocent Muslims on their hands. Surely such perpetrators will stand in the line of infidels on the Day of Judgment.

Sayyar Khan
Dec 16, 2014 09:59pm

Shame these guys are cowards. Not Humans.

mirza
Dec 16, 2014 10:06pm

War should declared on these TTP and their supporters too till they are eliminated from the face of Earth. .. We shall not hesitate to seek help from our neighbors on this regard.

Sampoornam
Dec 16, 2014 11:12pm

I am crying since i read this.. so much pain and horror for those innocent children and their kith and kin. God never approves this. I pray for your recovery, every one of you. I see my son in all the children, I see all the parents pain as my own pain. Pray Pray Pray. God in the only healer. - from Chennai, South India.

Sheikh
Dec 16, 2014 11:14pm

May Allah rest the souls died in peace and May He grant us courage to fight the Taliban menace in Pakistan and throughout the world.

Robinson - NY
Dec 16, 2014 11:57pm

No words to express my feelings.. Deeply saddened by this inhuman act. My heartfelt sympathies to all the parents who lost their precious children. I was on my way to work when I heard this news. Can't wait to get home and hug my children.

vikas luthra
Dec 17, 2014 12:39am

Iam From India.My deepest condolences to all children who lost their lives in this dreadful act of terrorism.Whole of India is shaken with this news and we all feel pain for these children.These terrorist are animals and animals have no religion.we all are with Pakistan in this difficult time.We may have our differences but this incident is beyond our differences and we totally condemn this inhuman act of cowardice.we all need to understand that terrorism has no religion , No other approach. Should adopt by Pakistan but to eradicate terrorism from its soil.may god bless the souls of these innocent children.with tears in my eyes ..i pray this will never be repeated anywhere.

S. W. H. Abdi
Dec 17, 2014 01:06am

@Robinson - NY I have no words to sum up this whole barbaric action of Talibans How I wish all talibans and other extremist to be hanged My heart goes out to all those parents who lost their dear children May Allah (swt) give comforts & patience to the bereaved
May Allah (swt) curse be upon them all (Talibans & other Extremists)

omair
Dec 17, 2014 01:44am

Do the terrorists even know the meaning of the slogan they shout before killing innocent. Allah ho Akbar (God is great) and He is merciful and not brutal

rahulS
Dec 17, 2014 02:11am

India & Pakistan should come together for fight against terrorism, because both contries has same situation.

rahulS
Dec 17, 2014 02:18am

India & Pakistan should come together to fight with terrorism,

Amazed
Dec 17, 2014 02:20am

“Allahu akbar” (God is greatest) before opening fire. ..seriously you take Gods name before shooting innocent lives.....how low can you go

Ravi Dallas TX
Dec 17, 2014 02:57am

Sad, sad situation. Just don't understand the terrorists' psyche, what do they think when they say Alla hu Akbar and fire bullets on children. Do they really think God supports that act? I can understand someone in revenge doing it or someone who doesn't beleive in God and who is ruthless , doing it but how come people with strong belief in God can kill children in the name of God? Ridiculous.

Pakistan needs to go full-force and cleanse these elements from roots. Otherwise they will keep coming back.

Sameer Khalid
Dec 17, 2014 03:42am

@omair

Do we have faith in humanity anymore? How can a human being kill a child? Beyond comprehension. When will we eradicate terrorism which has plagued our country?

M India
Dec 17, 2014 04:05am

Duniya mein kahin bhi, dard se koyi bhi Thadpe to humko yahan pe Ehsaas uske zakhmon ka ho ke Apna bhi dil bhar bhar aaye roye aankhein.

We Indians of all religion stands united in this moment of grief and pain with you Pakistan.

nisaredu@rediffmail.com
Dec 17, 2014 04:35am

A heart breaking barbaric and beastly act committed by the enemies of the humanity.It is condemned all over the world and also felt as the highest form of voilence ever inflicting on the human planet.May Almighty Allah spoil the evil intentions of such beasts,restore peace in Pakistan nd India and grant jannat to the departed soul.

ROHIT PANDEY
Dec 17, 2014 05:59am

Allah uh Akbar......before opening fire on unarmed children?:(( Really?

Wonder how one explains the mindset of that guy bearing an automatic rifle?:(

Syed Ali
Dec 17, 2014 06:23am

Best message to Taliban and other terrorist would be immediate carrying out of death sentences awarded by court. This will be test of government resolve to deal with terrorism.

Irfan khan
Dec 17, 2014 06:35am

Ya Allah alleviate the pain of those parents who lost their children. Those cold hearted attackers that escaped after the killing will not escape the ultimate justice. Ya Allah help our nation bear this tragedy. Ameen!

Njstar
Dec 17, 2014 06:43am

I wept while reading through the pain and suffering of young people who went through and life long suffering of the parents who lost their dear ones.

OK
Dec 17, 2014 06:50am

Afghanistan and other enemies must have a hand in this. ISPR should investigate those links.

OK
Dec 17, 2014 06:52am

What about Lal Masgid mullah and his soldiers in the heart of capital city. He was heard saying "what you sow, you reap". No sympathy for the people whose bread he breaks.

AYER
Dec 17, 2014 06:59am

TWO QUESTIONS

  1. How can the media interview these traumatized kids who may be scarred for life due to this horrendous incident. Have they no sense ?

  2. Given the huge crowds at Hafeez Saeeds gatherings , part of Pakistani society seems to side the Taliban . Will madrassas teaching Salafist ideals and school books depicting all minorities and other religions in poor light be revamped ?

Bhavani
Dec 17, 2014 09:21am

@asgher - Mahatma Gandhi -- " An eye for an eye only will leave the world 'Blind'!

m.asif
Dec 17, 2014 09:23am

oh my dear ALLAH please help us please destroy terrerist or u give us power that we will defeat fhem

raj
Dec 17, 2014 09:48am

@Baba De Kamaqlano "as per Quraan there is no forgiveness from Allah to those who have the blood of innocent Muslims on their hands. Surely such perpetrators will stand in the line of infidels on the Day of Judgment"

What if the kids killed belonged to other religions.....wud it have been justifiable then? Unless mentality like these changes such unfortunate and barbaric incidents are bound to happen again....I pray for the innocent souls who perished in this carnage.

zahid
Dec 17, 2014 09:51am

Kindly name them terrorists or TTP and not Taliban.

azmat ali
Dec 17, 2014 09:53am

To prevent this kind of brutality there's only one way. Banning each and every type of religious organization.

syeda fatima
Dec 17, 2014 10:01am

Kal Jo bachai shaheed hoi Allah in ki darajat ko buland karai n in ki mothers ko sabr ata fermai .dil an bhi khon k anso ro raha hai .

Naveed
Dec 17, 2014 10:25am

Not even million zillion words of sorrow can express the pain of this difficult time that every one affected and every human on this planet going through. Allah please give us strength and courage to go through this, please i request all citizens and Pakistanis abroad to hold hands and never ever leave unity, otherwise it will be our fault and remember we are answerable here and after. Allah please help us all.

Krishna
Dec 17, 2014 10:35am

Dear Brothers and Sisters: This is a tragedy that have shaken people me and my family. This is barbaric. What have these innocent students done and all those responsible for this are heartless barbarians. Our thoughts and prayers are with all of you out there.

Tinu
Dec 17, 2014 10:52am

The dastardly act of terrorists need need condemnation beyond religion, politics and races.The world should put it's resources together to eliminate the ugly face of terrorists and act of terrorism from the surface of earth without any further delay.Else humanity shall continue to suffer.

Tinu
Dec 17, 2014 10:58am

@AHA Yes all the civilized people should stand firmly against terrorism of any kind and any group or institution supporting terrorists and their act of terrorism should be sternly dealt with.

TABI
Dec 17, 2014 12:19pm

This brutal act of terrorism will leave long lasting effects on the youngsters that rescued and the whole nation .it is dire need of time to unite the disintegrated nation bypassing the differences rather linguistic or religious. Deterrence on a homogeneous ground is the solution to cope with rampant terrorism..

Rahul Singh
Dec 17, 2014 01:20pm

Dear Parents,

Your lovely children live on the other side now where there is no hatred and no blood shed. May god bless the departed souls and give justice to those barbarians.

Rahul Singh. Bangalore, India

Jatinder
Dec 17, 2014 01:28pm

Numb , frustrated and angry but helpless. Not the time to comment but to show solidarity with the bereaved families in particular and all the peace loving Pakistanis in general. It is now or never and in my opinion the right time and cause for Jihad against these barbarians.

rahul1
Dec 17, 2014 01:38pm

Speedy recovery. No child.. abs no child should face this trauma again... anywhere in the world

faisal ishaq
Dec 17, 2014 07:39pm

Im 40 year healthy man father of two ...living overseas ....since yesterday i heard news and saw in media...cant focus at work..2nd day just sitting on office chair trying but cant focus...what will happen to this kid....may Allah help us all to correct ourselves. ..

ps
Dec 18, 2014 04:48am

I am so sorry for the loss of these children. All are precious. All are Gods children. I hope in the future there is no more hate between different religions. We should all be free to believe as we choose and live in peace. Christian lives and Muslim lives equal in value.

Sophie
Dec 18, 2014 07:25am

May all these innocent children rest in peace.

Ameen

Anasuya
Dec 18, 2014 07:57am

I am an Indian and am writing to express my deep sorrow at this national tragedy. This is the worst kind of assault on humanity. It is time for us to accept the power of peace and love and denounce the evil forces of hatred which do not distinguish that children are the most innocent and worthy of our love. No god can accept such a violent act. As an Indian and as a mother I stand in solidarity with the people of Pakistan. My heart cries for the children who lost their lives to blind and senseless violence. May god give strength to the families of the deceased children to cope with this loss. We need to stand together at this moment.

syeda
Dec 18, 2014 12:14pm

what a brave young fellow !!!!!!!!!!!just 16 years but so intelligent i wish him all the best and i pray for his quick recovery ,

Rajat India
Dec 18, 2014 01:05pm

Brave Boy .....This should never happen in any country

Engr Adeey
Dec 18, 2014 07:15pm

War has been started. We should kill all the enemies of pakistan. Because if this is the way, then we should be ready to get martyred.