National day of mourning follows university massacre

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© Oneindia Hindi / SC

PAKISTAN’S Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has imposed a day of national mourning after 21 people lost their lives when gunmen stormed Bacha Khan University, in the northwest of the country, on January 20. 

On January 21, Government buildings across Pakistan and worldwide will fly flags at half-mast and capital Islamabad will hold a prayer ceremony. 

Students at Bacha Khan University, located in the town of Charsadda, were subjected to attacks by four extremists possessing automatic weapons and grenades. A Taliban faction within Pakistan has since claimed responsibility. 

Many of the victims were in a young men´s hostel when the attackers descended. It was here that national security forces are said to have cornered and killed the extremists, whose actions have been described as “un-Islamic” by the Taliban´s leadership.  

As the country begins to come to terms with the loss, the heroic actions of one man, chemistry professor Syed Hamid Husain, have come to light. The brave professor lost his life while challenging the attackers with a pistol and providing his students with the vital seconds needed to take cover. 

Professor Husain was laid to rest in his home village on Wednesday evening, in accordance with his Muslim beliefs. Many of the other victims are also thought to have been buried already. 

The shocking attack has dredged up unpleasant memories of the 2014 Peshawar school massacre, in which 141 people (including 132 schoolchildren) were slain by terrorists. Considered “the deadliest terrorist attack ever to occur in Pakistan,” it prompted the country´s leadership to crack down on extremism. 

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