December 16 – APS attack

December 18,2015

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As December started, this year, Pakistanis were not looking forward to the new years or the fireworks rather, this year they were reminded of the bullets unleashed onto the innocent lives, the gunshots, the terror. Pakistan produces people of extraordinary bravery. But no nation should require its citizens to be that brave. We mourn for three days then we forget our own tragedies and incidents when we have been a target of terrorism. Despite the measures the Pakistan Army took, it still doesn’t lessen the pain and the horror Pakistan had to experience at the hands of terrorism.

December 16, 2014, marks the bloody hallmark. Even though it has changed the course of history as to how Pakistan fights terrorism and terrorists to its end, the price we have asked our children to pay is a lot more than we realise, than the world realises. Friends? Sleep? Life? Peace? You name it and those children have already sacrificed it for Pakistan, for us to help us see this day. Sounds of explosions and firing continue to echo in the area as more people forget and move on to the wedding bells of politicians and cricket matches on media. Trauma lives as we began to forget our own 9/11.

The Pakistani nation questions about the lack of security and immense instability in the country. For the longest time the parents were not comfortable sending their children to schools. Educational institutions were under a threat and education was in jeopardy. The terrorists still threaten and target schools. They target the youth of Pakistan, the future of Pakistan, its young sons and daughters. The mass murder at Peshawar’s Army Public School and College is a manifestation of the most barbaric face of the Taliban insurgency which has been plaguing the country for more than a decade. The mission is to cripple Pakistan from its core, to torture as well as shake the foundation of every household in Pakistan.

The parents of the martyrs, to this date, mourn the loss of their children. Justice is still sought from the government and the military. The parents resent the delay in the hanging of the four terrorists who were involved in the APS attack.

Authorities lifted a six year moratorium on executions following the APS attack. Earlier on November 30, Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Raheel Sharif has signed black warrants of the four convicted including Maulvi Abdus Salam, Hazarat Ali S/O Awal Baz Khan, Mujeebur Rehman alias Ali alias Najeeb Ullah S/O Gulab Jan and Sabeel alias Yahya S/O Atta Ullah. It is estimated that Pakistan had more than 8,000 prisoners on death row, most of whom have exhausted the appeals process.

“The parents of the schoolchildren have long been demanding that the terrorists be severely punished, and today we are satisfied our demands have been met,” said Ajoon Khan, who lost his only son. “The hangings won’t bring back my son, but now other people’s sons will be kept safer,” said Tufail Ahmed Khan, who lost one son while another was wounded.

December 16 has become a new blood soaked benchmark. An attack that may rank as the most cruel and painful, even by the morbid standards of a country scarred by repeated extremist atrocities over the past decade has exposed not only the depravity of Taliban, but also a Pakistani political leadership distracted by partisan infighting.

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, like other politicians, has always shouted condemnations of the attacks and the attackers. “We will continue our struggle to completely eradicate militancy,” he said. But like always there are doubts of the government actually coming through with their promises. The skepticism on the prime minister’s ability to handle the crisis is on the rise too, without the support and push from the army itself. Several people called upon the Pakistan Army to tighten its grip on the governance.

The school attack has hardened Pakistan’s resolve to fight militants along its lawless border with Afghanistan. The Pakistan Army, on the six month anniversary of the attack, guided Pakistan to unite in its war against terrorism and own the war which was being disowned by the different segments of the society for a number of reasons. Pakistan Army has launched its Zarb-e-Azb operation against militant-infested North Waziristan tribal region, which is considered as the nerve centre of militancy in the country. The army has claimed major successes in this tribal region, which is bordering Afghanistan.

Apart from another operation launched in Khyber Agency against the insurgents, it is also said that the steps to tackle the issue of terrorism still needs more to do on the part of the state and the society. To uproot terrorism, it is necessary to get rid of the jaundiced mindset, which germinate the flawed outlook and misguide.

December 16, 2014, the day when 144 lives became stories.


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