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Video game based on 2014 Pakistan massacre withdrawn

By Ed Adamczyk Follow @adamczyk_ed Contact the Author   |   Jan. 18, 2016 at 10:19 AM

LAHORE, Pakistan, Jan. 18 (UPI) -- A video game based on the December 2014 Taliban attack of a Peshawar, Pakistan, school, in which more than 130 children died, has been withdrawn from sale.

The first-person game, "Pakistan Army Retribution," offers players a chance to portray soldiers fighting the seven terrorists who overtook the Army Public School, and was released on the one-year anniversary of the massacre as part of a campaign supported by the Pakistani army to promote peace and tolerance.

The game had been available for several weeks but only achieved notice after a negative review was published Monday in a leading Karachi newspaper. The incident stunned Pakistan and provoked the government into a long-postponed action against militant groups working within the country.

"As much as some would argue the desire to tackle an attacker, visiting the school in this virtual manner is in poor taste. The Peshawar attack was a tragedy that holds national significance since it sent the entire nation into trauma. Any recreation of the carnage that day seems insensitive," reviewer Munir Rahool wrote in the newspaper Dawn.

Rahool was also critical of the game's visual images and controls.

The release of the game is one of an assortment of actions in a campaign named Peaceful Pakistan, offering televised and online content to commemorate the Army Public School shootings and encourage opposition to violence.

Referring to the video game, Umar Sarif of the Punjab Information Technology Board commented, "It wasn't very well done and it was in poor taste. In hindsight it was not a good thing to do. APS was a watershed for Pakistan so we had the idea of using it as a theme to promote peace, tolerance and harmony. The plan was to show children that the best weapons are the pen and the book."

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