Surrey Pakistani-Canadians to hold candlelight vigil over massacred children

NORTH SURREY — Hundreds of people are expected to turn out at Holland Park in Surrey tonight to hold a candlelight vigil in memory of the victims of a particularly brutal attack in Pakistan on Tuesday.

Close to 500 people have confirmed they will attend the vigil according a Facebook page entitled "A vigil in sad memory of the 132 innocent victims of Peshawar school attack," which begins promptly at 5 p.m. tonight.

Widespread media reports indicate that the Taliban murdered up to 140 children in Peshawar yesterday, including the beheading of toddlers and teachers.

Organizer Shahzaz Nazir Khan of the Committee of Progressive Pakistani Canadians said the word "horrible" can’t begin to describe the wanton murder of 3-year-old children.

"It’s not like a human job, it’s some kind of a monster inside these fanatic Taliban," he said.

Although the Taliban are most well-known as the insurgent force that NATO soldiers have been battling in Afghanistan for 14 years now, Khan said the tribesmen live and fight on both sides of the border.

"It’s the same men in the sense that these Taliban, these religious fanatics, were trained with the help of the U.S. Army back in 1979 after the invasion of the Soviet Union. These Taliban remained in the same soil whether it was in Afghanistan or Pakistan."

Vigils will be held today in major cities throughout Canada such as Montreal, Ottawa, and Toronto.

Khan said the Canadian government needs to call on Pakistan to do more than bombard militants. The ex-patriate Pakistani said his country of birth needs to modernize, hold religious fanatics to account for their crimes and prevent their involvement in politics.

According to their Facebook page, the Committee of Progressive Pakistani Canadians will use the candlelight vigil to "condemn this cowardly act and send a clear message to the fanatics and religious extremists that we are stand together against evils of all sorts no matter how much you oppress us.

"Through this vigil, we want to send a clear message to the world community that we are united against terrorism and will raise our voices to be heard by our coward enemies."

Organizers say the event is open for everyone who else wants to speak, share their grief or recite a poem.

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