Last year, on a grim day in December, seven gunmen armed with rifles and affiliated with the Tehrik-i-Taliban stormed into an Army Public School in Peshawar, a northwestern city in Pakistan. They opened fire on staff and children, killing 141, of whom 132 were schoolchildren. Pakistan Army’s Special Services Group killed all seven terrorists and rescued the remaining 960 students and staff.
It was the deadliest terrorist attack to occur on Pakistan’s soil.
On Wednesday, Pakistan revisited the tragedy in what was a final measure to bring justice to the attacks by hanging four militants, who were convicted in connection with the school massacre. The men, identified without last names as Maulvi Abdus Salam, Hazrat Ali, Mujeeb ur Rehman, and Sabeel, were executed at a high security prison in Kohat. According to the military, the men were members of Toheed Tawhid Wal Jihad, an affiliate of the Pakistani Taliban.
Prior to the December 16, 2014 attack, the death penalty was banned in Pakistan. The 2008 moratorium was lifted after the attacks, however, and the country has hanged nearly 300 criminals since. The four men executed Wednesday petitioned for clemency, but Pakistan’s president rejected the requests. Army Chief General Raheel Sharif ordered the hangings a few days ago in a special military court created for terrorism cases.
The last time Pakistan saw an attack of this magnitude on its own soil was in 2007 during an attempt on the life of former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto two months before she was assassinated. The attack, which involved two bombs exploding near Bhutto’s motorcade, killed at least 180 and injured at least 500 more.