The massacre of 132 children in grades one to ten and nine of their teachers in a Peshawar school shook not only Pakistan but also the world. These innocent children wiped out by beasts and not humans became yet further victims in the atrocious war waged by terrorists; because whether it is Columbine and Newtown in the United States, Utoya island in Norway or Peshawar in Pakistan, the result is the same. However, in Peshawar the perpetrators were not mentally disturbed but those who deliberately planned and carried out a heinous crime. The agents of death either blew themselves up or were killed.
But they are not important. More pressing is the need to carry out a probe to discover who are the merchants of death behind this and other attacks on children.
The Taliban who in most probability are behind this in view of their publicized disdain for the Pakistan army and education should be taken to task.
However, these attacks should be viewed in the context of the political situation in Pakistan. While a democratic setup is in place and elections are putting people in government, the political scenery is far from reassuring. Yes, the army is staying put in the barracks, but the politicians are playing a tug of war and wild accusations between the three top parties of Nawaz Sharif, Imran Khan and Asif Zardari are going on.
In recent weeks Pakistan was brought to a standstill by those who wanted a total shutdown and a rebuilding process, while earlier in the year, the “container episode” unfolded.
All this took place against a background of creeping extremism, imparting of warped religious ideologies, instilling of hatred against each other and working for total chaos. The army was derided and lampooned and whatever gains Pakistan had made were totally obliterated and the sense of killing was for some the icing on the cake.
This situation cannot continue and these killers and their handlers should not be allowed to plot, plan and roam freely about.
The people of Pakistan deserve the chance to live an honorable, decent and safe life. To do this all party supremos should set aside their differences and join hands and do their patriotic duty by working to make the country safe.
Slogans and songs of “Naya Pakistan” or new Pakistan will not help. In his book “Pakistan – A dream gone sour” written about two decades ago, Roedad Khan a senior civil servant and a witness to the traumatic existence of Pakistan since 1974 expressed dismay at the events that led to dismemberment, dictatorship and a loss of vision in the country.
Today after this murder of innocent children, we ask: Has Pakistan become “a dream gone sour”?
Only Pakistanis can answer that question.