WEB DESK: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Wednesday said that sacrifices rendered by APS martyrs had set a future course for the country, and declared to mark December 16 as national day for the promotion of education in the country.
“This tragedy has united the entire nation and set our future course,” Sharif said while addressing a main ceremony held at APS Peshawar to pay homage to martyrs and survivors of Army Public School attack.
The PM announced to mark the anniversary of the APS attack on December 16, every year, as “Day of National Resolve for Education (‘Qaumi Azm-e-Taleem Day). The Prime Minister also announced to establish APS Martyrs University in honour of the innocent schoolchildren who lost their lives in a barbaric incident.
He termed the APS attack “an incident that shook the nation” “The blood of our children speaks in our war against terrorism,” PM said. Speaking directly to the slain children, Nawaz said: “We will avenge every drop of your blood.” “I desire that whenever we recall the sacrifices of these children and their teachers, we also remember that we have to eliminate the darkness of illiteracy from Pakistan.”
The Prime Minister said it was the time to end the “darkness of ignorance from the country”, which had led to rise of extremism. “The time has come to root out menace of terrorism from the country,” Sharif said. He paid tributes to the armed forces for waging a valiant campaign against terrorism under the leadership of Army Chief General Raheel Sharif and completely eliminating the terrorists. He said that blood of the martyred children united the nation.
“Enemies of education are the enemies of humanity,” PM said. He vowed to eliminate elements that aim to push the country in darkness by crippling education process. The deadliest assault shook the nation on December 16 2014. Nawaz Sharif said that the government made efforts for establishment of military courts to hold speedy trials of terrorists. The ruling party also launched a comprehensive offensive named, National Action Plan (NAP) after the attack in past year, he added.
While talking to the parents of the martyrs, Nawaz said that it is government’s resolve that sacrifices of their sons and daughters would not go in vain. He reassured the participants of the ceremony that Operation Zarb-e-Azb has broken the back of terror outfits. The event exhibited a national element of unity with attendance by the country’s political and military leadership.
He said every year when the martyrdom of children and teachers would be remembered, the resolve would be renewed by every child that “We have to educate the children of our enemies,” to make them distinguish between right and wrong. Following the APS attack, the premier said, the military and civil leadership sat together.
Nawaz thanked the political leadership with whose cooperation the constitution was amended to set up military courts, and the National Action Plan was formulated. “Our brave forces, security and civil institutions have come together as one in this mission,” the prime minister said.
Earlier, the ceremony held to commemorate the APS attack victims, began with recitation of verses from the Holy Quran. The attendees then stood up as the National Anthem was recited by APS students. The ceremony at the Army Public School commenced with the arrival of Chief of Army Staff General Raheel Sharif and Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. Families of those who lost their lives in the event participated in a parade holding up portraits of the victims.
Chief of Army Staff General Raheel Sharif, Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf chairman, Imran, Jamaat-e-Islami chief, Sirajul Haq, Federal Minister for Interior, Chaudhry Muhammad Nisar, Minister for defence, Khawaja Muhammad Asif, Minister for Finance, Ishaq Dar, top officials of other departments and leaders of various political parties attended the ceremony. Ambassadors of several countries along with services chiefs and provincial and federal ministers were also present.
Parents of the 134 children killed in the horrific incident were greeted by General Raheel Sharif at the inception of the ceremony at the Army Public School. The Prime Minister has distributed honorary medals among grieved families. The students of APS presented tablaue and special songs to pay rich tribute to martyrs of cowardly terrorists attack on the school on December 16 last year.
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee General Rashad Mahmood, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (KP) Governor Sardar Mehtab Ahmed Khan Abbasi, Sindh Chief Minister Syed Qaim Ali Shah, Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif, Gilgit-Baltistan Chief Minister Hafiz Hafizur Rehman, Balochistan Chief Minister Abdul Malik Baloch and KP Chief Minister Pervez Khattak also gave away honorary shields and medals to the relatives of the APS staff and students who were killed during the APS attack.