The Independent: The grief has given way to rage. Three days after Pakistan suffered its worst ever terrorist attack, with the massacre of 132 schoolchildren in Peshawar, the country has hit back.
In the tribal areas of North Waziristan and Khyber along the Afghan border, Pakistani jets strafed militant targets as troops combated militants on the ground. The military says that it has killed 77 as the assault presses on. For days, Pakistanis in major cities held candlelit vigils, placing flowers under portraits of the pupils who were killed in their school on Tuesday. Yesterday, they took to the streets to protest against pro-Taliban preachers and declare their resolve to end the threat that the militants pose.
Schools and colleges across the country have been closed until the new year. Major cities were on high alert yesterday amid fears that the Taliban will try and make good on its intention to slaughter more innocents. “We are bracing for another attack,” Khawaja Muhammad Asif, Pakistan’s Defence Minister, told The Independent. “There are reports that Punjab and other provinces are also threatened by terrorists – particularly soft targets like schools, public places where there is low security.”
The leader of the group that carried out the massacre has issued a warning. “If our women and children die as martyrs, your children will not escape,” Umar Mansoor warned. In the past, such threats provoked a terrified silence. No longer. In Islamabad, hundreds gathered outside the Red Mosque where extremist preacher Maulana Abdul Aziz is based. In recent days, he had been much in evidence on television supporting the Taliban.