ISLAMABAD: Pakistan's top leadership on Monday pledged to not allow militants with "bigoted vision" to take the country hostage as the nation mourned the 5th anniversary of massacre of 149 people, including 132 students, at the Army Public School in Peshawar.
In one of the most gruesome attacks on children anywhere in the world, 8-10 suicide attackers wearing paramilitary Frontier Corps uniforms on December 16, 2014 entered the Peshawar's Army Public School and went from classroom-to-classroom shooting indiscriminately, killing 149 people including 132 students.
Following the incident, Pakistan has hanged four men linked to the massacre, the BBC reported. Prime Minister Imran Khan in his message affirmed that the militant mindset would not be allowed to take over the country.
"We pledge on this day that the militants will not be allowed to make the nation hostage to its bigoted vision," he said.
President Arif Alvi in his message said the nation would not forget the massacre of students and their teachers.
"Hard to commemorate this day without tears in one's eyes. In its remembrance, we reiterate our pledge to root out terrorism and extremism in all its manifestations from our country," Alvi said.
Pakistan Army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa, in his message said that the carnage will never be forgotten.
Bajwa said that Pakistan had come a long way in defeating the scourge of militancy.
"We have come a long way in failing terrorism as a nation. United we move towards lasting peace and prosperity of Pakistan," he said.
Human rights minister Shireen Mazari said the incident had shook the nation. The responsibility for the attack in 2014 was claimed by the outlawed Mullah Fazlullah-led Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan.
"The attack on the Army Public School saw a shift in public opinion on the country's struggle against militancy.
In the aftermath of the attack, the army intensified operation Zarb-e-Azb in tribal areas where militants had previously operated with impunity, and the government announced to launch the sweeping National Action Plan to tackle militancy," the Dawn reported.