This week’s atrocity in Pakistan in which 132 schoolchildren were murdered has had repercussions worldwide, including in Shetland.
One Lerwick family has relatives in the north-west city of Peshawar, where the killing took place, and feels very shaken by the event which claimed the lives of nine teachers as well as the children.
Abdul Rehman moved to Shetland with his family earlier this year for “security”. He condemned the Taliban fighters who carried out the school killing, and said: “They have no faith, no religion, nothing. It was a big shock, so many innocent people have died.”
Fortunately for Mr Rehman, his extended family back home in Peshawar was unhurt. He has a nephew at a different school in the city, and two nieces at Peshawar Medical College.
Father of three Mr Rehman now works as a medical lecturer at the NAFC Marine Centre. He said he and his wife Nargis earned more money when they were based in Pakistan, where he was a ship’s captain – he qualified at Fleetwood Nautical College in 2002 – and Nargis was a school teacher.
They left Pakistan with heavy hearts, even though their children were born in Britain and Ireland.
Mr Rehman said: “I love my country, but it was not possible to stay because of the situation. We quit our jobs because there was no security.” He gave up a “good salary” to come to the UK, he said, because the family just wanted to “live peacefully”.
He said of Pakistan in general, not just the north-west: “There is no security in the schools, at work and not even in the house. There are corrupt people everywhere.”
The slaughter at the Peshawar Army Public School, which educates children of army officers, was the country’s worst atrocity. Children as young as nine were shot, and others begged for mercy as the bombers detonated their suicide vests.
The event has been condemned by politicians around the world. David Cameron said it was a “dark, dark day for humanity”, and Barack Obama said that by targeting students, the terrorists had shown their “barbarity”.
The Taliban said it was in revenge for the killing of the group’s members by the army.