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Charity chairman lighting candles in memory of relatives who died in Peshawar massacre

PUBLISHED: 13:20 19 December 2014 | UPDATED: 13:21 19 December 2014

Shazim Zaheer and other children in Pakistan remembering the victims. Picture: Abida Iqbal

Shazim Zaheer and other children in Pakistan remembering the victims. Picture: Abida Iqbal

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The world has stood united in sorrow and horror since the Peshawar school attack, which saw more than 100 children murdered by the Pakistani Taliban.

On Tuesday, seven terrorists stormed the Army Public School, in Warsak Road, Peshawar, killing 132 children and nine teachers.

Families and communities have been left devastated by the massacre and among those grieving is Abida Iqbal, chair of the Redbridge Disabled Women’s Welfare Association.

Mrs Iqbal, 64, who grew up in Peshawar, lost four distant relatives in the attack, including a child aged just eight.

She said: “We are all just shocked and it’s hard to know what to say. You don’t know how they could kill those young children like that.

“The body of my eight-year-old relative hasn’t been found yet.

“My relatives were distant as they were on my cousin’s side, but it’s hard to think of all the hurt the family is enduring right now.”

The campaigner’s relatives were three members of the Fida family, a 43-year-old teacher and her two sons, aged 16 and eight, and 11-year-old Sabir Hussain.

She said: “The people from my group have been very supportive and were asking afterwards if my family were okay.

“All my life I have worked for peace and I love people, I really do. Now this has happened in my district.”

Mrs Iqbal and members of her charity are gathering outside Redbridge Town Hall, in High Road, Ilford, at 4.45pm today to light candles in memory of the Pashawar victims.

The mayor, Cllr Ashley Kissin, and schoolchildren from the borough will also be in attendance.

From 5-6pm, Cllr Mahboob Chaudhary and members of the Ilford Islamic Centre will gather to light their own candles.

Cllr Chaudhary said: “For the children the sun has set forever, but for the parents and all nations the candles are there for light.

“Our prayers are with them.”

Cllr Jas Athwal, leader of Redbridge Council, condemned the “appalling and senseless attack” and said his “heartfelt thoughts” were with the families of the victims.

Mrs Iqbal believes the attack may have been in response to Malala Yousafzai jointly winning the Nobel Peace Prize.

“Straightaway I was thinking about how Malala got the prize and that this then happened a few days later.

“I think it is one of the reasons why they did it, because it’s education and young people.

“When is it going to stop? When are they going to stop?”


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