Indian media: 'Understanding' Pakistan's pain

Relatives comfort injured student Mohammad Baqair in Peshawar, 16 December Image copyright AP
Image caption Student Mohammad Baqair lost his mother, a teacher, in the attack

Indians share Pakistan's "sorrow and pain" over the killing of at least 132 children in a terror attack in Peshawar city, papers say.

Seven Taliban attackers, all wearing bomb vests, entered Peshawar's Army Public School on Tuesday and started firing, Pakistan's army said.

The Taliban said it carried out the attack, calling it a revenge against Pakistan's ongoing military operation against the group in North Waziristan.

Most papers have expressed shock and anger over the actions of the militants, while sympathising with the families of the innocent children killed in the incident.

"It is difficult to imagine the conversations and the cold-hearted planning that the terrorists were involved in when aiming to storm a school of 1,100 children - from pre-schoolers to high school teenagers," the Hindustan Times says.

Most papers feel that Indians need to show solidarity with Pakistan despite years of tension between the two countries.

The Indian Express says Indians share Pakistanis' "sorrow, as parents, as siblings, and as people who have learned that the living carry with them wounds inflicted by terror".

"The Indian public has many disagreements with Pakistan but it sincerely and unequivocally shares the pain of its bereaved in moments like this," The Hindustan Times says.

The paper adds that Prime Minister Narendra Modi has "rightly condemned the act of 'unspeakable brutality' and offered his condolences".

'Duplicitous policy'

Papers, meanwhile, blame Pakistan's government and military for "patronising" certain militant groups and suggest the Peshawar attack is a result of this strategy.

"For far too long the Pakistani establishment has carried out a duplicitous policy of distinguishing between good and bad Islamists. This has boomeranged in a terrible manner," The Times of India says.

Image copyright Hindustan Times
Image caption Most Indian papers have given front-page coverage to the Peshawar attack

"Will the deaths of innocent children convince the Pak army to stop supporting terror as a political tool?" the paper asks in an article.

The Indian Express says that "for years, Pakistan's military establishment" has "patronised jihadists who are now tearing the country apart".

The Asian Age also criticises Pakistan for fighting terrorism as per convenience.

"The establishment's proverbial doublespeak, where it has run with the Taliban hares and hunted with the US hounds while using the Taliban as proxies to destabilise Afghanistan and India, must end," the Asian Age says.

The paper worries that Pakistan's "home-grown terror has the potential to spill over into India as much as China and Afghanistan".

Beslan massacre

Meanwhile, papers are comparing the Peshawar terror attack to the 2004 Beslan massacre in Russia

"This attack is eerily similar to the 2004 Beslan massacre that saw Islamist terrorists take over a school in North Ossetia, resulting in the death of 186 children," The Times of India says.

Citing the Beslan massacre, The Indian Express says the Peshawar attack "isn't the first large-scale terrorist attack against children".

More than 330 people had died after Chechen rebels seized a school in Beslan town on 1 September 2004, demanding withdrawal of Russian troops from Chechnya. The siege ended three days later when security forces stormed the building.

BBC Monitoring reports and analyses news from TV, radio, web and print media around the world. You can follow BBC Monitoring on Twitter and Facebook.

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