Honourable senators, I have stood before you and wept for the girls and women of Pakistan and have tried to control myself, but today I weep openly for the children of Peshawar.
This morning in my hometown of Peshawar in northern Pakistan, an act of unspeakable horror took place. Seven Taliban gunmen attacked a school, killing more than 140 people, 137 of them children. The youngest victim was two years old.
Doctors have said that over 30 children are in critical condition, so it’s likely the death toll will go up. The number of people killed in this assault has surpassed the previous worst terrorist attack in Pakistan’s history. This is a dark day for the country. It is most horrific because they were innocent children.
The Taliban claimed this was an attack of retaliation due to the Pakistan army’s operation in the area. The school was an army school, and most of the children were sons and daughters of army officers.
Despite all the progress that has been made in recent years, it is agonizing that the children in my hometown of Peshawar were targeted, children who were probably not even aware of the politics of the region. All they wanted to do was go to school.
Honourable senators, we, as Canadians, condemn this act, and we pray for the children of Peshawar.
Peshawar is the city where I started my education with the Nuns of Presentation Convent.
Honourable senators, I know that school. Many of my cousins went to that school. It is an exceptional school, filled with children who dream of a bright future ahead of them.
Today, those Pashtun children had their future taken away from them.