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Peshawar schools reopen: ‘How I will sit in empty class with empty benches’

Almost a month after Peshawar’s Army Public school witnessed a ruthless massacre staged by Talibani suicide bombers, the deserted classrooms across the Pakistani town came alive as children returned back to schools on Monday.

An entire nation was shaken as a bunch of terrorists barged in Pashawar’s Army Public school by jumping the graveyard wall, and slaughtered almost 150 innocent souls (nearly all of them children).

The grisly attack not only shocked the nation but also drew condemnation from across the world.

All the schools in Peshawar were closed as the city struggled to come to terms with the deadliest attack witnessed in its history.

Pakistan’s Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government has announced that the Army Public School in Peshawar and all other schools will be reopened on January 12, almost a month after the bloodbath.

The move to reopen schools comes after the authorities have taken exceptional measures to beef up security around schools in Peshawar. According to a report in Dawn news, only those schools were allowed to reopen that fulfilled a set of security requirements like CCTVs and higher boundary walls. Other schools, that lacked the stipulated set of security criteria, were not given the NOCs (No-Objection-Certificates) and hence could not reopen.

According to Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government, schools are also provided mobile phones through which by pushing a button will inform the law enforcing agencies.

However, despite aggravated security measures, children trotting back to the Army Public School in Peshawar, may still take more time to feel the normalcy as most of their classmates are no more.

According to 16-year-old Shahrukh Khan, who was shot in both legs and played dead to avoid being killed by Talibani gunmen, it was heartbreaking to return to the classroom only to find the haunting empty benches as most of his friends were killed in the attack.

“I have lost 30 of my friends, how I will sit in the empty class, how I will look to their empty benches,” the 16-year-old told.

“My heart has been broken. All the class fellows I had, have died, now my heart does not want to attend school,” he added.

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