Pakistani Catholic official calls attack on school 'barbaric, inhuman'

A soldier escorts schoolchildren from the Army Public School attacked Dec. 16 by Taliban gunmen in Peshawar, Pakistan. (CNS photo/Khuram Parvez, Reuters)

The Catholic church in Pakistan has joined the chorus of condemnation of the deadly attack by Taliban on an army school in Peshawar that has left at least 126 children and others dead and 250 injured.

"This is a barbaric, inhuman and cowardly act," Cecil Chaudhry, executive director of the National Commission for Justice and Peace of the Pakistan Catholic Bishops' Conference, told Catholic News Service after the Dec. 16 attack.

Advertisement

"It is beyond imagination how innocent children of army personnel could be targeted like this," said Choudhry.

News reports said the Pakistani Taliban claimed responsibility for the attacks, claiming it as "retaliation" for ongoing army operation against the insurgents in the tribal areas bordering Afghanistan.

According to South Asia Terrorism Portal, nearly 13,000 people have been killed in army operations from 2005 to February 2014 in Pakistan's Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province with Peshawar as its capital.

Reports say casualties have been much higher with the Pakistani security forces stepping operation against the Taliban in 2014 in the porous border areas with Afghanistan.

Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, who rushed to Peshawar, described the attack as a "national tragedy."

The massacre in the school, Choudhry said, "calls for addressing issues of linguistic, ethnic and regional diversities as one nation."

He called it "unlikely" that the massacre was linked to the Nobel Peace Prize being conferred on Pakistani schoolgirl activist Malala Yousafzai a week earlier.

Malala was shot by Taliban gunmen in October 2012 for standing up for education of girls in the troubled province where Taliban opposes education of women.

Meanwhile, Indian child rights activist Kailash Satyarthi, who shared the Nobel Peace Prize with Malala, condemned the massacre.

"These are all our children who've been murdered today. My prayers and condolences are with the families," tweeted Satyarthi, founder of the Save the Childhood Movement in India.

Comments are automatically closed two weeks after an article's initial publication. See our comments policy for more.

Advertisement

The latest from america

 10.17.2018 Pope Francis greets Cardinal Blase J. Cupich of Chicago before a session of the Synod of Bishops on young people, the faith and vocational discernment at the Vatican Oct. 16. (CNS photo/Vatican Media)
“We take people where they are, walking with them, moving forward,” Cardinal Blase Cupich said.
Michael J. O’LoughlinOctober 20, 2018
Catherine Pakaluk, who currently teaches at the Catholic University of America and holds a Ph.D. in Economics from Harvard University, describes her tweet to Mr. Macron as “spirited” and “playful.”
Emma Winters October 19, 2018
A new proposal from the Department of Homeland Security could make it much more difficult for legal immigrants to get green cards in the United States. But even before its implementation, the proposal has led immigrants to avoid receiving public benefits.
J.D. Long-GarcíaOctober 19, 2018
 Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano, then nuncio to the United States, and then-Cardinal Theodore E. McCarrick of Washington, are seen in a combination photo during the beatification Mass of Blessed Miriam Teresa Demjanovich at the Cathedral Basilica of the Sacred Heart in Newark, N.J., Oct. 4, 2014. (CNS photo/Gregory A. Shemitz)
In this third letter Archbishop Viganò no longer insists, as he did so forcefully in his first letter, that the restrictions that he claimed Benedict XVI had imposed on Archbishop McCarrick—one he alleges that Pope Francis later lifted—can be understood as “sanctions.”
Gerard O’ConnellOctober 19, 2018