PESHAWAR: A teenage survivor of the terrorist attack on a school described how he played dead after being shot in both legs by insurgents hunting down students to kill.
Speaking from his bed in the trauma ward of the Lady Reading Hospital, 16-year-old Shahrukh said he and his classmates were attending a career guidance session in the school auditorium when four gunmen wearing paramilitary uniforms burst in.
“Someone screamed at us to get down and hide under the desks,” he said. “Then one of them shouted: ‘There are so many children beneath the benches, go and get them’,” Shahrukh said.
“I saw a pair of big black boots coming towards me, this guy was probably hunting for students hiding beneath the benches.” He said he felt a searing pain as he was shot in both legs just below the knee.
Says attackers shot children hiding under benches
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.”
“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.”
As his father, a shopkeeper, comforted him in his blood-soaked bed, Shahrukh 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. She was sitting on the chair with blood dripping from her body as she burned.”
It was not clear how the woman’s body caught fire, though her remains were also later seen by an AFP reporter in a hospital mortuary.
Shahrukh, who said he also saw the body of a soldier who worked at the school, crawled behind a door to hide and then lost conciousness.
“When I woke up I was lying on the hospital bed,” he added.
Published in Dawn, December 17th, 2014