Peshawar: Pakistan on Wednesday hanged four militants linked to a Taliban massacre at a school in the city of Peshawar, the first time it has executed anyone convicted in the attack, in which more than 150 people were killed.
Survivors of the assault, in which the majority of the victims killed by Taliban gunmen were children, said they were “happy” to hear of the executions, with one father saying the hangings should have been carried out in public squares rather than behind prison doors.
“Four militants involved in the attack on the APS school were hanged this morning in Kohat prison,” a Peshawar security official told AFP.
A Kohat police official named the militants as Maulvi Abdus Salam, Hazrat Ali, Mujeebur Rehman and Sabeel, alias Yahya. The army on Monday issued a so-called black warrant confirming their executions were imminent.
The hangings were also confirmed by a prison official, who said the militants had held a final meeting with their families on Tuesday night.
The attack, Pakistan’s deadliest, shocked and outraged the country, already scarred by nearly a decade of unrest.
It prompted a crackdown on extremism, with the establishment of military courts and the resumption of capital punishment after a six-year moratorium.
“The rest should be caught too, no one should be spared,” survivor Waheed Anjum, 18, told AFP.
Anjum, who was 17 at the time of the attack, was struck by three bullets, one in each arm and one in his chest.
“They shouldn’t have been hanged from prisons, they should have been hanged from squares,” his father Momin Khan Khattak added.
“There is no forgiveness in our hearts after what they did to our children.”
“The hangings won’t bring back my son, but now other people’s sons will be kept safer,” said father Tufail Ahmed Khan, who lost one son in the attack while another was wounded.
In August, after a trial that took place behind closed doors, the army announced that six militants linked to the assault would be executed, while a seventh was handed a life sentence.
Earlier this month Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif directed the president to reject appeals by four of them against the sentences, saying they deserved “no mercy”.
The militants’ bodies will be handed over to the families shortly, the Kohat police official said.