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Pakistan hangs 4 suspected militants over school attack

Posted at 5:24 AM, Dec 02, 2015

ISLAMABAD (AP) — Pakistan hanged four convicted militants on Wednesday who were sentenced to death over a Taliban attack on an army-run school last year that killed more than 150 people, mostly children, officials said.

The two officials said the men were executed at a high-security prison in the northwestern city of Kohat. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to media. The four are the first convicted militants to be executed in connection with the school massacre.

The Dec. 16 attack, which was claimed by the Pakistani Taliban, horrified the country and led the government to lift a 2008 moratorium on the death penalty. However, most of the nearly 300 people hanged since then have been convicted criminals, not militants.

Parents of children killed in the assault welcomed the executions and demanded that all those connected to the attack be given the same punishment.

"Today's executions cannot return my son to us, but I am happy to know that at least four terrorists have been hanged for their role in the killing of our children," said a woman who identified herself only as the wife of Arshad Zafar, in keeping with local custom.

She praised the military for trying, convicting and hanging them ahead of the anniversary of the attack.

Malik Tahir Awan, who lost his son in the attack, said "all those who played any role in the attack on Army Public School should be hanged."

"Dec. 16 is not far away, and that was the day when I lost my son. I shall never be able to forget this pain," he told The Associated Press by phone from Peshawar.

Last month, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif asked Pakistan's president to reject clemency petitions from the four prisoners. Army chief Gen. Raheel Sharif ordered the hangings a few days ago.