|Picture Credits: Rabiya Sheikh|
Thank you to the 12 year old Shahzeb Nazir, who loved playing video games and saved his pocket money to buy the latest CD's of video games. He had won several medals for outstanding performance in studies and extra curricular activities. Shahzeb chose the lives of his friends over his own. His classmate Samiullah says Shahzeb saved him and their other friends during the massacre.
Thank you to the 13 year old Ahmed Ali Shah, who lost his father when he was just 4 years old. He was a very responsible boy and never asked his mother for anything. He also had a beautiful voice and used to recite Naat during school assembly. His mother says he was a wise boy and wanted become an auto engineer so he could build car for themselves, and that she missed him because he was the only one who took care of her.
Thank you to the 14 year old Atif ur Rehman, the youngest of eight siblings, aspired to be a doctor and serve the residents of his village. His elder brother facilitated Atif’s move from their village to Peshawar for his studies. His elder brother says he feels Atif’s absence every day. He says after the family lost Atif, they were going through his schoolbooks and found he had written: “I love you, Dad. If anything happens, I would not let you down before anyone.”
Thank you to the 15 year old Bahram Ahmad Khan, who secured 91% in his last exam. This distinction was aside from the various medals he had won in academics and extra-curricular activities. His father recalls a story Bahram’s friends shared from the APS attack. During the attack, a friend of Bahram fell to the floor and broke his glasses due to which he could barely see. Bahram came back to get him but on their way out was stopped by a terrorist. His friends recall that Bahram pushed the terrorist and received two bullets in the chest which resulted in his death.
Thank you to the 16 year old Adnan Hussain, who on the day of the attack took his father’s new joggers, saying, “What kind of a father are you? You buy new ones for yourself and have your son wear old shoes?” He lost one of the shoes during the siege on APS. The second one has been locked away in a cupboard for safekeeping. Adnan was seriously injured in the attack and passed away on the night of Dec 18 at 8:30pm.
Thank you to the 17 year old Bilal Arshad, who always aspired to join the Pakistan Army as a commissioned officer. Giving by nature, Bilal often convinced his father to give him money so that he could treat his less-privileged friends to a nice restaurant. On the morning of the attack, he brought home two cakes before leaving for school. He ate one and told his mother to serve the other to his father who was sleeping at that time. Bilal’s father woke up late that day and immediately learnt of the APS attack that also claimed his son’s life. Till date, the cake is still at home.
Thank you to the 18 year old Ibrar Zahid, who was the eldest amongst his siblings, Ibrar was a hardworking student and responsible young man. His father says when his son was alive, he did not have to worry about his younger children as Ibrar looked after them like a parent. He also took great care of his mother, and would often run errands with her or take her to the hospital for check ups. Ibrar was shot three times – in the spine, chest and leg. He fought for his life for a week after the attack, but succumbed to his injuries on December 23.
Thank you to the 19 year old Muhammad Daud, who was punctual, disciplined and studious and had been appointed house captain. His father says Daud was not just a son, but also a friend. “I was very frank with him,” he says. He shares that after one of Daud's classmates mentioned his father had passed away, Daud would take extra pocket money every day to help his friend.
Thank you to the 20 year old Abdul Azam Afridi, who was a fun-loving, naughty student. He once went to the computer lab and poured water on all the computers. Later, when an infuriated teacher asked who did it, Abdul owned up to the mischief and paid a fine for the act. Before he passed away, he told his driver he was excited about adopting his friend’s Persian cat.
Thank you to the 22 year old Muhammad Sami, who was the peon at APS School. His father suffered from cancer, and Sami set out to work when he was just a young boy to support the family and pay medical bills. He had been performing his duty at APS for eight years till the day he was killed. His mother says Sami did not enjoy his youth like other children. He had to be the man of the house. Despite the huge responsibility of an entire household on his young shoulders, His siblings who live at home are in dire poverty as the sole breadwinner of the family is no longer there.
Thank you to the 23 year old Hafsa Khush, who an intelligent and determined woman, Hafsa began working at the Army Public School in 2013. She was close to her mother and was engaged to be married. Despite having a chance to save herself and leave the premises, Hafsa chose to stay back to help injured students. It is during this time that she was shot and killed.
Thank you to the 24 year old Muhammad Hussain, who served as gardener in the Army Public School (APS) for a period of seven years. Hussain was a hard working man, his brother recalls, saying how after his gardening job at the APS, he would return home and go to work as a farmer in the fields. Hussain enjoyed playing cricket and was good in the game.
Thank you to the 25 year old Mudassar Khan, who was a lab assistant and had a Diploma in Clinical Pathology and a Masters in Pashto from the University of Peshawar. He was the eldest amongst his siblings and the sole bread winner of his family. For this reason, he had left his village to work. He got engaged 15 days before he was killed.
Thank you to the 28 year old Hajra Sharif, who was a chemistry teacher at APS, Hajra Sharif had the knack of controlling a class effectively, and was very well-rounded in her subject. According to Hajra’s siblings, she emphasised a great deal on women’s education, and her aim was to open a girls’ school in her village Karak.
Thank you to the 30 year old Benish Umer, who was a teacher, a loving wife and a caring mother, teaching was Benish’s mission in life. Her husband Umer recalls that it was Benish’s tenacity that helped the family maintain discipline. Benish had the chance to get out safely during the attack but chose to stay back so she could administer first aid to the injured students. This is when she was shot.
Thank you to the 32 year old Muhammad Bilal, who was a guard at APS Peshawar, Bilal and his wife were expecting their second child when he was killed. His wife has named her newborn Hanan, because her husband loved that name. He was a loving father. He wanted the best for his son Abbas, and dreamt that he would become a doctor some day. He was attacked by the terrorists when they saw him helping children escape from a back exit.
Thank you to the 33 year old Sahar Afshan, who was helping evacuate students when the
attackers targeted her. She joined APS in 2006 as an Urdu teacher. She had completed a Masters in Urdu from the University of Peshawar and was also pursuing MPhil. As a result of her commitment and hard work, she was promoted to the senior section shortly after she joined.
Thank you to the 39 year old Saima Zareen, who had been teaching English at the APS for 17 years. The day of the attack, Saima rushed into the auditorium to save injured students. As she made her way in and out of the room, she was apprehended by one attacker. She was shot dead and her body set on fire. Her husband vows to continue her dream, to teach. He misses her dearly.
Thank you to the 40 year old clerk Akbar Zaman, who was admired by his entire village and even now he is fondly remembered. Akbar had made it a point to bring back gifts from Peshawar for all the kids in the family when he would visit native Lakki Marwat for holidays. He was as a highly-dedicated employee who gave his life while performing his duty.
Thank you to the 41 year old clerk Muhammad Shafiq, who after school, he would drive a taxi to earn extra money to support his family. Two of his children are now
studying at APS. The day of the attack, Shafiq was busy evacuating terrified students when he was gunned down. He had made his third trip back into the school during the rescue operation when he was struck.
Thank you to the 42 year old teacher Sofia Hijab, who is emembered by her daughters as their best friend. Her husband says she was present in the auditorium during the attack but had managed to exit safely. But that is when she decided to go back for her students. She pulled out many of those injured before the attackers killed her.
Thank you to the 50 year old Pervaiz Akhter, who worked at APS as a lab assistant for 20 years. He was utterly devoted to the school, and students remember him as honest and dedicated. According to his children he was a soft hearted father. Despite his limited salary he fulfilled all their demands. He always hoped his kids would get quality education and earn a name for Pakistan.
Thank you to the 53 year old Muhammad Saeed, who had been teaching Islamiat at APS for nine years. When the army launched an operation in Swat, Saeed invited three displaced people into his home and gave them food and shelter for three months. When the attackers struck, he advised students to stay calm and helped them. His parents, wife and five children miss him dearly and pray for him to rest in eternal peace.
Thank you to the 64 year old Tahira Qazi, who was the principal at APS Peshawar, She maintained a very sober exterior but was in fact a very soft-hearted person, her family says. According to a student injured in the APS attack, Tahira’s last words were: “They are my children and I am their mother.”
Thank you to all the Other remaining 119 people who gave away their life for Pakistan, to make it a better, stronger and a peaceful country, which has changed in a good way thanks to their sacrifice and we are never going to forget them.