Pakistani court sentences six militants to death over Peshawar school massacre

Published August 14th, 2015 - 08:30 GMT

Pakistani military courts have sentenced six militants to death over a series of attacks, including an assault on a school that killed more than 150 people in Peshawar last December 

Army chief General Raheel Sharif has confirmed the six death sentences and an army statement released today said another militant was sentenced to life in prison.

The statement said that the eight militants belonged to the Taliban and two local militant groups.

The attack on the army-run school in Peshawar, in which nearly all the victims were schoolchildren, shocked Pakistanis and led the country to lift a moratorium on executions in place since 2008.

132 school children, aged between six and 18-years-old were gunned down inside the house as well as 13 members of staff.

After they ran out of ammunition and were surrounded by security forces inside the school, the seven militants were ordered to detonate their suicide vests. 

Pakistan has long been accused of turning a blind eye to Islamic militant groups, viewing them as allies against arch rival India and a way of projecting influence in neighboring Afghanistan.

Following the deadly attack, the Pakistani government pledged to step up military operations in the tribal areas, reinstated the death penalty and allowed military courts to try civilians.

Pakistan’s intelligence agency and police also carried out raids around the city, arresting two religious leaders and 27 others suspected of being involved in the attack

The attack was thought to be revenge by the Pakistani Taliban for a number of military crackdowns carried out by the Pakistani army in the tribal areas.

One analyst, Ahmed Rashid, told the BBC that one of the reasons for the attack may have been to send a threatening message to Nobel Peace Prize Malala Yousafzai.

Well known for surviving a brutal Taliban assassination, Malala has become well known for campaigning for girl's education and women's rights in the developing world.  

By Tom Wyke

© Associated Newspapers Ltd.

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