Months before the attack, 16-year-old Taimoor Malik participated in a skit which illustrated a terrorist attack at the school. Playing the role of an army major, he was killed fighting militants.

The day of the horrific attack, his classmates say Taimoor died just as heroically.

Taimoor is just one of the 131 students killed in the December 16, 2014, attack on Peshawar's Army Public School (APS). There were many who faced a similar fate, with the entire nation sharing the pain of the tragedy.

The cowardly terrorists attacked Taimoor from behind, hitting him in the head.
The cowardly terrorists attacked Taimoor from behind, hitting him in the head.

A native of Charsadda, pampered Taimoor was the youngest of five siblings. He loved to eat, and loved making omelettes.

His siblings appear to be shocked into a silence at the loss of their youngest. His mother said her heart breaks every day, and that she will never forget her son.

The journalist

Amongst those who lost their lives was an aspiring journalist, a student of science who was not very fond of physics and chemistry and imagined himself more as an anchor on prime time television.

He shared the name of Pashtun ruler Sher Shah who took control of the Mughal Empire in 1540 and is still remembered as one of the greatest administrators and rulers of medieval India.

Like a true Pashtun, our Sher Shah, a victim of Taliban brutality, was curious about horses, reading books that detailed their taxonomy. He could tell the classification of a horse just by its structure and physique.

Sher Shah loved to study Turkish and Islamic history and was a skilled member of the debating club.
Sher Shah loved to study Turkish and Islamic history and was a skilled member of the debating club.

Sher Shah loved to study Turkish and Islamic history and was a skilled member of the debating club. His favourite book was ‘Worlds Together, Worlds Apart’.

Sher Shah's father cries for his eldest son every night, and questions his son's fate.

The 'sweet' promise

Before he went to school that day, Shah warned his sisters not to eat the sweets his uncle had gifted to him, the masaledar gurh. But never came back home to fight with them.

Son of Misal Khan and Shukria Bibi, the 16-year-old Shah Fahad joined APS four months before the attack.

Before that, he studied at a school in Hayatabad, where he lived with his aunt. But his parents wanted to see him every day and so he was admitted to the Army Public School in Peshawar.

Shah Fahad's parents are shattered by his death.
Shah Fahad's parents are shattered by his death.

Shah's parents are shattered by his death. His father’s eyes were full of tears when he spoke about Shah, while his mother has not yet recovered from shock.

Husnain, the philotherian

Husnain loved to visit his village, where he played for hours with young farm animals. The 14-year-old was quite particular about his clothes and would always ask his father to buy him new outfits.

Deeply scarred by the loss of her young son, his mother was unable to speak about him.
Deeply scarred by the loss of her young son, his mother was unable to speak about him.

"I had big dreams for my son. I hoped that Hasnain would complete his studies and work hard to make a mark in society," his father told Dawn.com.

Deeply scarred by the loss of her young son, Husnain's mother was unable to speak about him.

The youngest victim

It was six-year-old Khaula’s first day of school in grade one. She was overjoyed that she had finally joined her siblings instead of staying home. It would be her only day at school.

Daughter of Altaf Hussain and Safoora Bibi, Khaula was the youngest and only female student killed in the horrific attack.

December 16, 2014 was six-year-old Khaula’s first day of school
December 16, 2014 was six-year-old Khaula’s first day of school

Her family describes little Khaula as a flower. Even at a tender age, she was passionate about education and was outspoken about the right of female children to go to school.

The young Khaula once persuaded a professor in her neighbourhood to send his daughter to school, and despite his vehement opposition, he melted ─ he was swayed by Khaula and her sweet words.

Her mother says she will never recover from her loss. Her father tries to be brave for his family, but in his heart, he mourns Khaula every day.

The gatekeeper who did not live to see his newborn

One of the gatekeepers of the school, Bilal, was attacked by terrorists when they saw him helping children escape from a back exit.

He and his wife were expecting their second child when he was killed in the attack. His wife has named her newborn Hanan because Bilal loved that name.

Sadly, Bilal's youngest son will never know his father.

For his elder son, Abbas, now three-and-a-half-years old, Bilal had dreams of a good education to help him become a doctor.

Sadly, Bilal's youngest son will never know his father.

The teacher who returned to get killed

Sofia Hijab, a mother of two and a hard-working teacher, was present in the auditorium while the attack was happening and had managed to come out of the premises safely. But she decided to go back for her students and pulled out many of those injured before the attackers targeted her.

She started teaching at APS as a junior teacher two years ago but her dedication and hard work led to her promotion as a senior teacher within a short span of time.

Sofia decided to go back for her students and pulled out many of those injured before the attackers saw and targeted her.
Sofia decided to go back for her students and pulled out many of those injured before the attackers saw and targeted her.

Her colleagues remember her as a hard-working woman who enjoyed having a laugh every now and then. She liked to keep people together and would arrange meet-ups and one-dish parties for her colleagues.

Sofia’s husband recalled his wife’s love of holidaying at various tourist spots, of which Murree was her favourite.

When it came to food, she enjoyed cooking and eating chicken biryani and would make various seafood dishes over the weekend for her family.

Those that survived

Also Read: 144 Stories: Remembering lives lost in the Peshawar school

Opinion

Editorial

Worsening hunger
Updated 08 Dec, 2022

Worsening hunger

THAT the dollar liquidity crunch has started hurting the import of essential items such as vegetables and raw...
Bannu beheading
Updated 08 Dec, 2022

Bannu beheading

The state must take up the cudgels and neutralise barbarism before it spreads.
Smog misery
08 Dec, 2022

Smog misery

IF 2022 has taught us anything, it is that generations of reckless disregard for Mother Nature has accrued very ...
Disquiet on the western front
Updated 07 Dec, 2022

Disquiet on the western front

IT is very difficult for Pakistan to be delinked from Afghanistan, because of reasons of geography and history.
Fuel from Russia
07 Dec, 2022

Fuel from Russia

THE apparent headway made with Russia for the purchase of its crude oil, petrol and diesel at discounted prices is a...
More women SHOs
07 Dec, 2022

More women SHOs

IT is encouraging to see more employment avenues opening up for women in Pakistan, with an increasing number of...