Image via Reuters
Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has lifted a moratorium on the death penalty for terrorism-related cases, one day after his country experienced the most deadly Taliban attack in its history.Sharif's announcement came as fresh details emerged about Tuesday's massacre at an army-run school in Peshawar during which at least 148 people were killed, 132 of whom were children.In an address in the north-western Pakistani city, Sharif expressed his "deep grief" over the tragedy, and asked assembled lawmakers: "If terrorists are not punished, then who will be punished?"
He said that along with lifting the moratorium on the death penalty, further action against terrorism would be deliberated and ruled on within the next week by a committee that will include members of the armed forces, intelligence, and political parties, according to Pakistan's Express Tribune.
"Today's conference has decided to draft an action against terrorists and act upon it immediately," Nawaz said.The prime minister added: "We announce that there will be no discrimination between 'good' and 'bad' Taliban and have resolved to continue the war against terrorism till the last terrorist is eliminated."Taliban gunmen kill 132 children in attack on Pakistani army school. Read more here.Wednesday also saw funerals held in Peshawar for the slaughtered children.
Several journalists have now been allowed to enter the scene of the attack at the Army Public School, and have begun releasing images depicting the aftermath of the carnage. The photos show rooms covered in bloodstains, and black walls that provide evidence of explosive devices.
Reports say that during the eight-hour siege at least one female teacher was set alight in front of her students, and subsequently burned to death.
Nine members of the school's staff were reportedly among the dead, including the school's principal, Tahira Qazi.
The Independent reported that Shahrukh Khan, 15, a student who was shot in both legs but survived the massacre by hiding under a bench, said: "One of my teachers was crying, she was shot in the hand and she was crying in pain.""One terrorist then walked up to her and started shooting her until she stopped making any sound. All around me my friends were lying injured and dead," Khan recalled.
The Taliban has also released photos of the gunmen who apparently conducted the attack. The six or seven militants pictured are lined up in front of a white flag, and are wielding rifles.
Sharif's announcement about the death sentence has been welcomed by many, including Indian actress Rani Mukerji, who has been using social media to call for the public execution of terrorists.
Meanwhile, memorials and vigils are being held in cities across the world.
Taliban bombings and attacks kill dozens during bloody 24 hours in Afghanistan. Read more here.Follow Sally Hayden on Twitter: @sallyhayd