Farooq Naeem / AFP / Getty Images

Pakistan hangs 4 convicted over Taliban massacre of Peshawar school

Hangings were the first carried out in connection with Dec. 2014 attack that left more than 130 dead

Pakistan on Wednesday executed four men linked to a Taliban massacre in which more than 130 schoolchildren were killed in an attack on an army-run school last year.

The executions, which officials said were carried out by hanging at a prison in the city of Kohat, were the first in connection with the December 16 attack on Peshawar's Army Public School in the northwestern city of Peshawar. The hangings were also the first executions of civilians convicted by Pakistan's military courts, which were set up after the massacre through a constitutional amendment.

Hazrat Ali, Mujeeb ur Rehman, Sabeel and Abdus Salam had been convicted for their involvement in the school attack on August 13, according to a military statement sent on that date. All were identified as members of the Toheedwal Jihad Group (TWG), a previously unheard of faction of the Pakistani Taliban.

The attack was Pakistan's deadliest, and shocked and outraged a country already scarred by nearly a decade of smaller-scale attacks.

"The rest should be caught too, no one should be spared," survivor Waheed Anjum, 18, told AFP.

Anjum, who was 17 at the time of the attack, was struck by three bullets, one in each arm and one in his chest.

"They shouldn't have been hanged from prisons, they should have been hanged from squares," his father Momin Khan Khattak added. "There is no forgiveness in our hearts after what they did to our children."

Other parents said the executions would act as a deterrent against future attacks. 

"The parents of the schoolchildren have long been demanding that the terrorists be severely punished, and today we are satisfied our demands have been met," Ajoon Khan, who lost his only son in the attack, told AFP.

"Had the government hanged all the terrorists before, the Peshawar school attack would never have happened," he said, adding that he hoped others involved in the massacre would meet the same fate. 

"The hangings won't bring back my son, but now other people's sons will be kept safer," said Tufail Ahmed Khan, who lost one son in the attack while another was wounded.

Three others were also sentenced to death for involvement in the attack, according to the same military statement, but death warrants have not yet been issued for them. All nine attackers were killed in the siege, which is believed to be the worst Taliban attack on Pakistani soil. 

The executions came less than two weeks after Pakistan's Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif asked the country's president to reject the clemency petitions of the four "terrorists."

Wire services 

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