Candles shine bright to remember victims of Pakistan school massacre
Bradford’s night sky was lit up earlier this week as a touching candlelight vigil was held in the city centre in memory of the Pakistani children and teachers, killed in a terrorist attack.
Hundreds of residents turned out on Thursday 18th December, to remember the victims of the Peshawar school which was attacked by Taliban insurgents two days prior.
132 children and nine members of staff were killed in the attack with images of mass funerals broadcast around the world in the days that followed.
Amongst those in attendance in Bradford were young and old representatives, including members of the Muslim, Christian, Hindu and Sikh faith.
Mohammed Rafiq Sehgal, President of Bradford’s Council for Mosques, lit his candle and stood alongside several faith leaders.
He spoke of how important it now was to ensure communities stand together at these times.
“An event like this can only make us stronger as one community,” he said. “We stand together in the fight against terrorism and condemn the actions in Peshawar.
“What happened at the school was not a crime against one religion or a community; it was a crime against humanity.
“We were showing our solidarity with the families of those affected by the attacks and we pray for them together.”
On Tuesday 16th December, it is reported that seven members of the Tehrik-s-Taliban, dressed in full army uniforms stormed the Army Public School mid-morning firing their weapons at helpless pupils.
It took Pakistan commandos around eight hours to clear the school of the threat with all attackers killed either by officers or suicide vests.
As well as the moving vigil, a Pakistan flag was also flown at half-mast outside Bradford’s City Hall following the tragedy.
Meanwhile, in Leeds, a smaller gathering was seen at 11am on the same day, as a minute of silence was held outside the city’s art gallery.
Led by the Lord Mayor, Cllr David Congreve, councillors and members of the public shared in a moment of remembrance for those involved in the massacre.
Cllr Congreve said: “People in Leeds and across the world have been deeply moved by the reports and images we have seen following these appalling events.
“It is fitting that as a city that promotes diversity, tolerance and peace, we gather to pay our respects to those who have had their lives cut so tragically short.”