As Pakistan Mourns, Prime Minister Removes Moratorium On Death Penalty

December 17, 2014

A day after a horrific Taliban attack on a school that left 145 people dead, Pakistan began to take stock.

As The New York Times describes it, flags flew at half-staff and prayer services were held across the country. The BBC reports that the families of the victims — who were mostly children — began burying their dead.

We’re also getting a greater understanding of what exactly happened inside the Army Public School and Degree College in Peshawar after gunmen entered the school.

Based on what witnesses say, Dawn reports that the gunmen first fired on students who were playing outside and then entered the school’s auditorium, where students were in the middle of a test.

The newspaper goes on:

“To save themselves, the students hit the ground, their young bodies aligning with the earth to evade the bullets that sought their bodies. But the killers had come to kill; according to eyewitnesses, there was no hurried or haphazard showering of bullets.

“The killers killed one by one, pointing their guns at one child and then another, watching their bodies flinch and fail. Later, when the corpses would be counted, they would number over a hundred.

“In the aftermath, the children are gone, silenced and buried. The country is in mourning, stunned again, shaken again, angered again at the barbarity that lives within and spawns such death.”

Authorities also allowed cameras into the school for the first time. The images are harrowing: They show walls riddled with bullets, broken furniture, and rooms that were charred after the suicide vests worn by the gunmen went off.

Meanwhile, on the political side, The Express Tribune reports that Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has decided to lift a moratorium on the death penalty in terrorism cases.

The Tribune adds:

“Rights campaign group Amnesty International estimates that Pakistan has more than 8,000 prisoners on death row, most of whom have exhausted the appeals process.

“Supporters of the death penalty argue that it is the only effective way to deal with the scourge of militancy.”

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