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Sydneysiders condemned the attack on Peshawar School Children

On just 24 hoursí notice, more than 1000 people attended Candle-light vigil at Hyde Park in Sydney

Francis Ventura from the Peshawar School for Peace

On Thursday,18 December 2014, a candle-light vigil was held to spread the message of Peace following the Peshawar Massacre in Pakistan. The massacre occurred less than 48 hours earlier at the Army Public School in Peshawar, resulting in 141 casualties - most of them children. The event held at Hyde Park involved interfaith speakers and 141 seconds of silence as well as a candle light vigil. More than one thousand people attended to pay their respects on just 24 hoursí notice.

Consul General of Pakistan in Sydney, Mr. Abdul Aziz Uqaili

The crowd included people from different cultural and religious backgrounds showing their solidarity with the people of Peshawar. The event was supported by the Pakistani Consul General and other dignitaries including Senator Deborah O'Neill and Hon. Shaoquett Moselmane MLC. Condolence books were circulated and signed which will go directly to the impacted families in Peshawar.

Hon. Shaoquett Moselmane MLC

Master of Ceremony duties were performed by Francis Ventura from the Peshawar School for Peace. An interfaith prayer session was held after the Consul General of Pakistan in Sydney, Mr. Abdul Aziz Uqaili offered his condolences regarding the Peshawar Attack. CG Mr Uqaili condemned the aggressors and highlighted that the Holy Quran says if you kill one human being, it is equivalent to killing all of Mankind.

Hon. Shaoquett Moselmane MLC then spoke briefly, mentioning his disbelief that such a tragedy had occurred. Hon. Moselmane spoke about his various visits to Pakistan and outlined his desire to see the troubled nation prosper. After the interfaith prayer session, 141 seconds of silence were held in commemoration of the 141 lives lost.

The eventís initiator Sidra Hameed

After the pause for silence, the eventís initiator Sidra Hameed gave an emotional speech. She read a powerful poem and thanked co-organisers Zaheer Lalani, Francis Ventura and Talal Shah. Sidra stressed the purpose of the event was to spread the message of peace, not protest or push for any political agenda. Her words resonated with the crowd quite well and it could be seen that she was speaking with conviction. The tragedy of the Peshawar Massacre had a visible impact on her which could be noted by all in attendance.

Talal Shah from the Young Pakistan Association of Australia

The crowd was then asked to lay their candles and flowers in the make-shift memorial by Talal Shah from the Young Pakistan Association of Australia who thanked those in attendance for showing up on such short notice. Talal urged those who had not signed the condolence books to do so as they would be delivered directly to the affected families. Formal proceedings were then closed by Francis Ventura. The event continued well into the night with people taking photos and offering prayers at the candle light vigil memorial site.

For more photos and to keep up to date with future events, please visit the Young Pakistan Association of Australia Facebook page.


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