Prayers and protests in Pakistan after attack on school

World Today

A member of a civil society group holds an anti-Taliban placard to condemn Tuesday’s Taliban attack on a military-run school in Peshawar, as members of multiple groups join a demonstration Wednesday, Dec. 17, 2014 in Islamabad, Pakistan. Photo: AP

Protests and prayer vigils were held across Pakistan on Wednesday, in outrage over the Taliban school massacre which killed 148 people, mostly children.

The attack at the Army Public School and College in the city of Peshawar on Tuesday was the deadliest slaughter of innocents in the country and horrified a nation already weary from unending militant attacks.

People spoke of their shock at the brutal slayings in Peshawar, where children and teenagers were gunned down and some of the female teachers burned alive.

Army commandos fought the Tehreek-e-Taliban militants in a day-long battle until the school was cleared and all the attackers were dead.

Also on Wednesday, Pakistani Prime Minster Nawaz Sharif approved an order lifting the ban on the death penalty for “terrorist crimes”, which has been in place since 2008.

Sharif lifted the ban last year but then re-imposed it when his government launched peace talks with militants.

The move followed a top-level meeting between the prime minister and military and civilian law enforcement officials on the legal system’s “inadequacies in punishing terrorists.”

Earlier, Sharif said he spoke to Afghan President Ashraf Ghani late Tuesday to discuss how both countries could do more to fight militants along their shared border.

The two agreed to launch fresh operations on their respective sides of the border, Sharif said, and pledged to “clean this region of terrorism.”

Pakistan has in the past criticized Afghanistan for what it said was a failure to take action against militants on their side of the border, specifically faulting Kabul for allegedly not helping when Pakistan launched the North Waziristan operation in June.

Afghanistan has also repeatedly accused Pakistan of harboring militants in its tribal regions.

Read more about the attack HERE

This story is compiled with information from the Associated Press.