Wednesday May 29, 2024

Twinkle twinkle little stars

By Qammer Abbass Anka
December 21, 2015

 “Of quiet birds in circled flight.

I am the soft stars that shine at night.

Do not stand at my grave and cry;

I am not there; I did not die”

One long year of tears, agony, mutual counseling, not revenge but hope for justice, divine as well as worldly and indelible memories of 150 little angels dressed in snow white coffins is not a fiction story. It is a real life fiasco. Dooms day unleashed on children of Army Public School in metropolitan of Peshawar in the early hours of 16 December, 2014. The deadly serpent of terrorism guzzled 144 innocent children and many others. The enchanting flowers giggling and chatting with their colleagues, within minutes turned into corpses. The one way ticket to school brought back the innocent kids in coffins.

The tragic scene gave birth to many questions a year back. Who will counsel their mothers aspiring for their children to grow? Who will wipe tears of their sisters and who will hide their uniforms from their fathers? I have heard that when one goes to school angels lay their wings in the path. But from where these devils had come to play havoc with blood and stain.

The day marked the unprecedented count of innocent deaths in a single incident.  A toll unparallel to the causalities of any modern war. Innocent children wrapped in white coffins were asking the humanity, “what was our fault, we did not harm anyone nor we had any foes.  We had not yet blossomed”. The lifeless eyes of these little flowers might also have had few questions for their slayers. “Our assassins don’t you have children? Don’t they ask you to sing bed time rhymes? Don’t you pray for their long lives and prosperity? Why you had to use deadly automatic weapons to kill us while, your mere growl was enough to kill us”.

Dear young martyrs, today we shall not shed tears because you are alive. We have a strong conviction and blind belief that you are alive. These are not our words; Almighty has said so in Holy Quran. We are proud of you. Your sacrifices with blood have written a golden chapter in history of mankind. You have reminded us of Karbala. Yours was also a battle of Haq (Right) and Baatil (Wrong), you were also unarmed. You have laid your lives for a splendid cause. You gave your lives so that rest of the youth can seek knowledge without any fear. Your stature is no less than those soldiers who embrace martyrdom on the borders so that the nation can live. Dear readers please pardon me if my pen becomes weird because emotions and true sentiments follow no rules.

Last year as I walked round the School, past the children's shoes, bags and books pierced with bullets and down the buildings of institution burnt to ashes and bathed in blood of innocents, I was filled with an overwhelming sense of grief for all those who were killed simply because of their faith and belief in tenets of true Islam.

The building of Army Public School is not merely a structure like many others. It bears witness to the best and to the worst of the human heart. The images will stay with us. And only by remembering them can we begin to grasp the enormity of the tragedy. In this building the evidence of the worst enemy of Pakistan will always remain preserved. Without it, we might forget the past, and we might neglect the future. And we must never forget. We must always remember both the cruelty of the terrorists and the courage, innocence and great sacrifices of their adolescent victims. In this edifice, memories of all martyrs will not only remain immortalised, but that they would serve as a warning to every terrorist and an inspiration to every student on this globe.

With every successive generation, memory dims. Only the torch you carry can light our way. This is what remembrance is for, and a new generation now has taken up that duty. The process will continue. Today is dedicated to our martyred children and their teachers, a milestone for our present generation and for the generations to come. We pledge you and your successors to uphold the torch of remembrance, and accept with a sense of privilege the legacy you have been bequeathed: To participate in whatever ways we can—individual by individual—in the effort to clean our country from the menace of terrorism. Dear little martyrs, you have laid your lives leaving behind a world where your successors in all parts of Pakistan will never have to go through such tragedy again.

This day has put a halt to a diabolic journey of savagery, horror, suffering and destruction through the ashes, the corpses, and the hell of inhumanity. We will always remember this day to renew old bonds, to thank those who sacrificed their lives to aid us in times of unimaginable evil, and to remind future generations of the imperative of remembrance in building a safer, more humane world. This day we will never forget and will pass on this memory so that this horror will never be forgotten. Today is the day to pay homage to those whose lives were prematurely taken from this earth by few radicals for no reasons.

Alhamd-u-Lillah, today, the sun is shining brightly on Army Public School and the academic life has assumed its normal course. As this magnificent spring of learning radiates in the light of the sun, we reaffirm our pledge that we shall eradicate every terrorist and make Pakistan a safer place for our nation.

The menace of terrorism has made our country miserable. Terrorists hardly follow any philosophical ideology to live a life full of compassion and empathy. APS attack is a case in point. The terrorists and the terrorism need to be condemned overwhelmingly. No matter how strong these terrorists are, they can not match the overwhelming courage, resolve and commitment of our nation not to succumb to their malicious and inhuman agenda. Today our entire nation and the peace loving people across the world are paying homage to all those children, teachers and the security staff who lost their precious lives in APS attack and embraced martyrdom. Pakistan will always remain indebted to those brave parents who did not ruffle on the great tragedy and considering it a will of God took it boldly. Their courage and spirit of sacrifice can be best gauged by their act that after losing their dear ones, they put rest of their children in the same school. Today every Pakistani is proud of the brave stance and the sacrifices of martyrs of APS. Terrorists must feel ashamed as they attacked those who were armless and busy in seeking pearls of knowledge. To target innocent school children and teaching staff is a clear proof of their cowardliness. The nation stands united and reasserts its firm resolves to fight these beasts and bring peace in Pakistan. Since the day of said tragedy, neither Army nor civil leadership relaxed for a minute. Our brave Army lead by General Raheel Sharif did not lose sight of their resolve and pledge to avenge every innocent killing. May Allah grant patience to the bereaved families!