Peshawar is no stranger to bloodshed. It has frequently been witnessing bloodbath. This time, the beleaguered city was hit in an unprecedented manner after militants attacked Army Public School and College (APS&C) killing more than 130 innocent children along with other staff members.

It was a misty morning. People were busy in routine life affairs, when a breaking-news suddenly started flashing on TV screens giving latest figures of casualties, showing parents in panic, which stunned the viewers’ much. Because, it was a violent act that was taking place after almost a year lull.

Armed with sophisticated weapons, militants stated to be six in number scaled school’s walls from backside at around 10:20am after setting ablaze the vehicle that they used for coming to the school.

It is one of the bloodiest ever attacks in Pakistan. Mothers were seen weeping and asking to pray for their children. Many said what sort of barbarianism is this? Terming it a dooms-day that even school-going children were not spared.

TV channels broadcast live scenes of sobbing, weeping and wailing mothers, fathers and relatives for their near and dear ones. The blood stained uniforms and shoes of the dead and injured students put a pall of gloom over the entire city as the scale of tragedy unfolded.

Which religion permits such brutality? It was asked by many, after coming to know about the tragic incident. Today is surely the darkest day in our history, in the history of mankind.

The whole day, ambulances were seen rushing towards the scene and hospitals; helicopters hovered above, inspecting the area. What was the crime of these kids; it was the only question asked by each and every-one. “My son was in uniform in the morning. He is in a casket now,” wailed one parent, Tahir Ali, as he came to the hospital to collect the body of his 14-year-old son Abdullah. “My son was my dream. My dream has been killed.”

It was the second biggest attack in Peshawar during last many years that resulted in killing of such a large number of people. The devastating car bombing at the Meena Bazaar had taken lives of 137 people and left several others injured on October 28, 2009.

To express solidarity with victims, shopping markets were closed to mourn the deaths. The roads were empty and gloom prevailed in the entire city. It was gloom and sorrow spread as parents were identifying their beloved ones among the dead and injured persons with tears rolling down on their cheeks.

The attack began in the morning hours, with the gunmen entering the school, which has students in grades 1-10 - and shooting at random, said a police officer. The students of 8th, 9th and 10th graders were getting first-aid instructions and training when the violence began.

According to the injured students, the attackers were making exclamations of ‘God is great’. “They climbed the benches and started firing at the children”. Most of those killed were between the ages of 12 and 16, said Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Chief Minister Pervez Khattak.

The Army Public School and College is home to up to 1,000 students, most of them sons and daughters of army personnel from around Peshawar. The boys and girls attend classes in different buildings on the compound.

Peshawar, an ancient city of more than 3 million people tucked right up against the Khyber Pass, has often found itself in the centre of it all. Militants have repeatedly targeted Peshawar in response.

This hours-long siege of a school ended Tuesday evening with all the militants killed, at least 130 people, most of them children dead. The provincial government has announced Rs5 lakh and Rs2 lakh as compensation for dead and injured people respectively in the gruesome incident.

Finally, the dead bodies of students reached their hometowns including Nowshera, Charsadda, Khyber Agency, Swat, Swabi, Mardan and other areas, where moving scenes were witnessed. After offering their funeral prayers they were laid to rest at their ancestral graveyards.