NEW DELHI: Prime Minister Narendra Modi reached out to his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif offering assistance in a telephonic conversation and said the moment of shared pain was also a call for both the countries to join hands to defeat terrorism.
After the handshake at the end of the Saarc summit, this was the first interaction between the two PMs since foreign secretary-level talks were called off by India over Pakistan envoy meeting Kashmiri separatists in Delhi.
A press release said Modi spoke to Sharif after the latter returned from Peshawar, where the attack was held, to the capital city.
Modi said “this savage killing of innocent children, who are the epitome of the finest human values, in a temple of learning was not only an attack against Pakistan, but an assault against the entire humanity.”
“At a time when the world is getting disturbingly accustomed to acts of terror, this terrible tragedy has shaken the conscience of the world,” he said.
On his Twitter account, Modi posted, “India stands firmly with Pakistan in fight against terror. Told PM Sharif we are ready to provide all assistance during this hour of grief”.
He also told Sharif that people of India shared the heart rending pain and sorrow of families and people in Pakistan. Modi also issued an appeal to schools in India to have a two minute mourning for the victims of the horrific Peshawar school massacre.
Modi noted to Sharif that “this moment of shared pain and mourning is also a call for our two countries and all those who believe in humanity to join hands to decisively and comprehensively defeat terrorism, so that the children in Pakistan, India and elsewhere do not have to face a future darkened by the lengthening shadow of terrorism”.
He also hoped that the children who witnessed the horrific attack and loss of their friends would come through this trauma through counselling.
Earlier in the day, as the scale of the horrific attack on the army-run school in Peshawar became clear, India joined the chorus of condemnation, with Modi calling it “unspeakable brutality”, while Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said it was against “very conception of humanity”.
“It is a senseless act of unspeakable brutality that has claimed lives of the most innocent of human beings - young children in their school,” said Modi.
The MEA spokesperson Syed Akbaruddin used even stronger words. “No words will capture the feeling of deep revulsion and horror we feel about this terror attack against innocent children of the Army Public School in Peshawar - It was not just innocent children who have been massacred today, but the very conception of humanity,” Akbaruddin said.
“Our prayers are with the families and loved ones of all those who lost their lives or were injured in this barbaric incident. We hope the almighty gives them the courage and fortitude to bear their irreparable loss,” said the MEA spokesperson.