PESHAWAR: Members of All Pakistan Minorities Alliance (APMA) and students of the member schools of All Private Schools Executive Association, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, held protest rallies and demonstrations here on Saturday against the killing of students in militant attack on the Army Public School, Peshawar.

Students of private schools of Peshawar marched from the FC Chowk to Peshawar Press Club and gathered along the Sher Shah Suri Road. They were holding banners and placards inscribed with slogans against the bloodshed in the APS.

Shouting slogans against the terrorists, the participants demanded of the government to take practical steps for arrest of the people involved in planning the attack and award exemplary punishment to them so as to curb terrorist activities.

Former MPA Dr Zakir Shah, patron of the All Private Schools Executive Association, president Aqeel Razzaq, Shahid Wali Khattak and principals of different schools spoke on the occasion and condemned the incident. They said that it was the first incident wherein the innocent students were targeted in order to demoralise the nation. However, they said that the terrorists failed to succeed in their nefarious designs to frighten the peaceful people because the incident had led to unity of the nation against terrorists in the country.

The speakers also demanded compensation of Rs1 million for families of each of the deceased students and Rs0.5 million for every injured student.

The APMA, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, members also held a protest demonstration outside the press club and shouted slogans against the killing of innocent schoolchildren.

Christian leaders said on the occasion that no religion allowed taking lives of innocent people and all those involved in such heinous crimes should be punished. They sympathised with the families who had lost their children and other family members in the APS attack.

The protesters suggested that both the federal and the provincial governments should devise an effective strategy for protection of the people and schools. They also expressed solidarity with the government in the fight against terrorists and said that the menace of militancy had equally affected the people belonging to different religions and stern action should be taken in this regard.

A group of the university and college students also continued their sit-in outside the press club against the incident and urged the government to take steps for safety of the students and promotion of education in the militancy-hit province.

“We want the government to rebuild all the destroyed educational institutions and build new schools in parts of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa,” said Waqas Ali, a university student, while talking to this correspondent.

Published in Dawn, December 21st, 2014