SAID ALAM KHAN PESHAWAR - Thanks to Almighty Allah, WHO, saved us and gave courage to bear irreparable loss of our students and teachers. But I certainly missed an opportunity to be listed among the martyred.

Mohammad Idrees, English teacher of Army Public School (APS) Warsak Road Peshawar told The Nation.

“We lost the cream; whether they were students or teachers and that is why we often discuss them,” Idrees, whose eight years old son Mohammad Anas was also seriously injured in the attack on the APS, said in a choking voice.

“It is impossible to forget them so easily because, my own son-Anas-a Hafizi Quran, too, has been too much affected psychologically and physically. In the last one-year, he had undergone seven surgeries,” Idrees informed.

“Though, shape of the APS has been changed in term of developmental works, providing all sort of facilities and further enhancing security. But we miss our colleagues, and that is a fact” Idrees added.

Sitting beside him was Mir Alam, physics teacher at the APS who said that it was a big incident in human history of attacking a school and killing harmless students and teachers by inhuman people. “What we saw that day is really unforgettable. We are now living with memories of our students and colleagues,” he said sadly.

He, however, said that at the beginning it was difficult for them to control themselves. “But with the passage of time and day-to-day rehabilitation process we are coming back to normal situation. Being a teacher, I think, we must have courage to control our emotions,” Mir was of the view.

Talking to The Nation, Kazim, a teacher of computer science of the APS said he could not forget his students. “I tried several times but failed to do so. How can I put them out of my mind? They spent more time with us here rather than at their homes.

“Is it possible to forget what we saw? – the killing of students and teachers in firing. No, it is not so easy at all. I weep whenever I recall that doomsday,” he said with gloomy eyes glistening.

Mathematics teacher of the APS, Salman, who was at the auditorium hall when the militants attacked the school, said that misses his senior teachers and brilliant students. “I miss them physically. However, they are still with me in my memories. I never expected that such inhuman incident will happen to us,” he said.

Young Salman, who received multiple injuries in his abdomen was of the view that with great support from Pakistan Army, general public and government, they were returning back to normal life. “But that blood and crying of innocent students and indiscriminate and non-stop firing by the militants continues to haunt me. I want to see a peaceful Pakistan by eliminating militancy,” he said.

“Memories of my students and teachers continue to haunt me. I cannot forget especially Islamiat teacher Saeed Sahib and my colleague Nawab Ali, teacher of Mathematics. They were brilliant in many ways. I am missing them a lot,” Kafeel Ahmad, Chemistry teacher of the APS told The Nation, after taking a long sorrowful breath.

“We lost brilliant students of medical section. And, we were 100 percent sure that they will get admissions at Khyber Medical College. But unfortunately today they were not among us,” he said.

The APS’s English teacher, Altaf Hussain, whose four-years-old daughter, Khaula, had also embraced Shahadat in the massacre. “Those who are forgotton are recalled. But I have not forgotten my students and my lovely daughter, who was martyred on her very first day at school. Is it forgettable? No never.

“It was Khaula’s first day at school, so, she was overjoyed. But unfortunately, she was unaware of her fate that ‘It would be her only day at school,” Alfat said, who too had received at least five bullets in his chest in the attack on APS. “I never expected that one-day our school will receive bloodbath, I will say it was our fate,” he said.

Mr. Sohail, who teaches Physics at the APS while sharing his views said that though they had a big mishap of killing helpless innocent students and teachers, however, with passage of time they were certainly moving towards normal life. “But incidents of terrorism like the recent one taking place in France refreshed our memories time and again what we saw and experienced on December 16, 2014. Attack on the APS is one-year old, but our wounds and memories about our martyred students and teachers are still fresh,” he said.

Qurratul Ain, Urdu teacher, while recalling the day as the worst of her life said whenever something bad happens, the happenings of December 16, 2014 haunt him. “However, we have returned to our normal life. We don't have any fear. We have firm trust and belief in Allah Almighty,” she maintained.

Riaz Ahmad, who teaches computer science said they were scared in the beginning. “We can't not forget our senior colleagues and loving students. We remember them because we had great time and have sweet memories of them. Security has been improved. Now we don't feel any fear,” he explained.

Gul Raees Khattak, the librarian while sharing his memories said he was serving in APS for the last 20 years. “Being a librarian, I have great interaction with both teachers and students. I remember everyone we lost in the tragedy. Whenever I am alone, I remain sunk in the harsh memories. But gradually things are improving and out wounds are healing,” he was of the view.

Luqman, Biology teacher said that he was a newly appointed teacher. “I have had a meeting with Shaheed Principal of the APS Tahira Qazi, a few minutes before the tragedy. I didn't knew it would be my last meeting with the principal and last class with the students. I can still feel the sounds of gunshots.

“We were scared in early days of the incident. But things are returning to normal now. The most unfortunate aspect is that most of the toppers and position holder students were martyred in the incident. Though the structure of the school has been modified and security enhanced. But the incident was too grave that it became part of our frequent discussions,” Luqman said.