Birmingham Mourns Pakistan Tragedy

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Peshawar Atrocity Leaves British Relatives Heartbroken


A businessman from Birmingham and a local mosque secretary were among those mourning the deaths of loved ones murdered in the Pakistan school massacre conducted by the Taliban.


Adam Awan, head of Awan Marketing in Hockley, learned that his young cousin Muhammed Yassen was one of the 141 victims murdered in terrorist attack in Peshawar.


The business man described the 14-year-old schoolboy as a “bubbly” teen who loved Birmingham, a city he was a frequent visitor of, and who had not stopped speaking fondly of his visit to Drayton Manor theme park.


The atrocity also took the life of 14-year-old Uzair Ahmed, a second cousin of Mohammad Ali, secretary at Central Mosque in Highgate.


Ten-year-old Saifullah Durrani and his nine-year-old brother Noorullah, cousins of Wolverhampton-based businessman Shah Jehan, were also killed in the attack as was a close friend of the family.


Adam, 33, whose parents have travelled to Peshawar to comfort the devastated parents of Muhammed, said of the youngster: “He was a bubbly, happy boy.


“It is very hard to come to terms with what has happened. He loved Birmingham and stayed here for six weeks for my wedding, and another six weeks for my brother’s.


“He loved his visit to Drayton Manor theme park.


“We all feel anger, disgust and condemnation.


“He went to school to better himself and was killed in his classroom. He didn’t have chance to hide.


“I have spoken to his mother and words can’t describe what she is going through. She has lost the only son, the only child.”


Mohammad Ali, from Sparkhill, denounced the armed assailants who carried out the seige which left his second cousin Uzair dead.


“We condemn them, we reject them,” the 42-year-old said.


“They are not even people, they are worse than animals. They are barbarians.


“But our people have gained more strength from the violence.


“Even people who supported the Taliban, and promoted them, have turned their backs.”


“Uzair was a bright child, a very friendly child,” said Mr Ali.


“He was the only child they had got.”


Black Country-based businessman Shah Jehan learnt the news that his cousins were among the victims of the school raid via Facebook.


His former university friend, mother-of-three, Beenish Butt was also murdered by the Taliban militants.


The 30-year-old said: “I jumped out of my bed because my family and friends go to the school.


“I started looking for more details on the internet and TV – and it was confirmed.


“I called my family in Peshawar.


“My cousin told me the school was under attack, and they were hearing blasts.


“Later on after 1pm, my cousin called and said they found Saif, but not Noor.


“They were hopeful Noor would be hiding somewhere in the school. They were not in the same class, and they found Noor later on.


“Both were dead and they were buried at 8pm the same day in their home village.


“Everyone is grieving in Pakistan. It’s terrible. Since yesterday I’ve been crying.


“Back in Pakistan, their mother was my favourite cousin and I went to see the boys often.


“They were very lively and clever. One of them posted on Facebook that he got an A-Plus in his exams. You could see that one day they would become something.”


The atrocity in which 132 children were gunned down and killed indiscriminately , leaving the country shocked and devastated, was carried out by seven members of the Taliban group, Tehrik-e-Taliban, clad in army attire and wearing suicide vests.


Taliban spokesman Mohammed Umar Khurasani said: “We selected the army’s school for the attack because the government is targeting our families and females.


“We want them to feel the pain.”


Prime Minister of Pakistan, Nawaz Sharif, has declared three days of mourning for the country to mark the innocent lives lost in the massacre alongside an announcement to end the moratorium on the death penalty for terrorism cases.

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