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Parents bury children, Pakistan mourns

Update: December, 18/2014 - 09:19
Activists of Pakistan Tehreek e Insaaf (PTI) party light candles for the victims of an attack by Taliban gunmen on an army-run school in Peshawar, Karachi on Tuesday. At least 130 people, most of them children, were killed. — AFP/VNA Photo

Viet Nam condemns all terrorist acts, FM spokesman says

Viet Nam condemns terrorist acts of all forms, Foreign Ministry's spokesman Le Hai Binh said in response to a school attack in the northern Pakistani city of Peshawar.

A terrorist attack on civilians and children is barbarian and unacceptable, Binh said yesterday.

Viet Nam conveyed its deepest condolences and sympathy to the government, people of Pakistan and the families of the victims. Binh said he hopes that the instigators will soon be appropriately punished.

Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung cabled a message of condolences to his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif yesterday.

The same day, Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister, Pham Binh Minh, also extended his sympathies to advisor to the Pakistani Prime Minister and Foreign Minister, Sartaj Aziz.

PESHAWAR — Pakistan woke up to a day of mourning yesterday after Taliban militants killed 132 students at a school in the city of Peshawar in a grisly attack which shocked the nation and put pressure on the government to do more to tackle the insurgency.

Seeking to appear decisive, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif announced he had lifted a moratorium on the death penalty in response to the massacre.

The focus was on Army Chief Raheel Sharif's visit to Afghanistan where the two sides, their relationship strained after decades of mistrust, were due to discuss how to crack down together on militants hiding on their common border.

People around Pakistan lit candles and staged vigils as parents buried their children during mass funerals in and around Peshawar – a volatile city on the edge of Pakistan's lawless tribal belt.

Pakistanis may be used to almost daily attacks on security forces but an outright assault on children stunned the country, prompting commentators to call for a tough military response.

In all, 148 people were killed in the attack on the military-run Army Public School.

The school's sprawling grounds were all but deserted yesterday, with a handful of snipers manning the roofs of its pink brick-and-stone buildings.

Army vehicles and soldiers wearing face masks and carrying automatic rifles were deployed by the entrance.

A day after the attack, Peshawar appeared subdued and many people were still in shock. More details of the well-organised attack emerged as witnesses came forward with accounts.

"The attackers came around 10:30am on a pick-up van," said Issam Uddin, a 25-year-old school bus driver.

"They drove it around the back of the school and set it on fire to block the way. Then they went to Gate 1 and killed a soldier, a gatekeeper and a gardener. Firing began and the first suicide attack took place."

Sharif has announced three day of mourning but people's anxiety focused on what the authorities can do to protect them.

The military staged more air strikes there late on Tuesday in response to the school attack, security sources said, but it was unclear what the target was. — REUTERS

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