If you ask an American about the biggest tragedy in U.S history; he, without sparing a moment, will tell you that 9/11 was the worst moment in the history of America when hundreds of innocent people became a victim of furious terrorist attacks. Let us talk about Pakistan now. Do you know Pakistan has its 9/11 too? Last year’s terrorist attack on Peshawar Army Public School proved to be Pakistan’s when 141 9/11 people including 132 children, ranging between eight and eighteen years of age, were ruthlessly killed by terrorists.
The tribal areas of Pakistan have been a hub of various militant groups including Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP); an organisation that has sought to force its conservative version of Islam in Pakistan. TTP has its roots in Afghanistan and is responsible for almost 90 per cent terrorist attacks in Pakistan. TTP has claimed the responsibility for Peshawar Army Public School massacre too.
Tragedy is always disorienting as we have to experience it whether we are ready for it or not. Peshawar Army Public School carnage was an unforgettable incident, a national tragedy indeed.
Being a media person, I went to Peshawar for news coverage of this sad incident. I visited scores of families there who had lost their children during this barbaric attack. Aamina Khan, the mother of an 11 year old martyred student, Aziz, told me with tears in her eyes, “I did not have an idea that December 16th would take away my most precious and valuable asset and would leave me with nothing except pain and sorrow. Aziz’s brutal murder has given me a wound that would never be healed. I would never forgive those terrorists involved in Peshawar School attack not even any mother of this world can forgive them ever”.
According to official statistics, at least 824 people were killed and 2,339 others injured in 372 bomb attacks, including 26 suicide bombings in Pakistan during 2014 but Peshawar School attack was exceptional in the sense that it not only united all the national political parties on one agenda but also diverted the attention of international community towards the highly sensitive and serious issue of terrorism in Pakistan.
Peshawar School attack was condemned equally by the political parties of Pakistan and the international community. In other words, this national tragedy united the whole nation on a single page. For example, one of the major political parties, Pakistan Tehrik-e Insaaf (PTI) announced to end its four months’ long sit-in while the other political parties’ leaders; Altaf Hussain of Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM), Maulana Fazal-ur Rehman of Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-F (JUI-F), Asfyand Yar Wali of Awami National Party (ANP) and Jamaat-e -Islami’s leader Siraj-ul Haq not only condemned that brutality in Peshawar but also an anti-terrorism plan was devised by the government in consensus with these leaders of the major political parties to combat terrorism at any cost.
On the other hand, the international community showed solidarity with the Pakistani nation while showing a firm determination to uproot the traces of militancy and terrorism from the world. Pakistan’s biggest rival, India also condemned the attack. Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on his Twitter account, “My heart goes out to everyone who lost their loved ones today. We share their pain & offer our deepest condolences.” Indian parliament Rajya Sabha observed two minutes silence in solidarity with those who lost their children in Peshawar carnage.
It has now been a year to the sad Peshawar School incident but the nation would never be able to forget the ruthless killing of innocent children. No doubt the tragedy has left a deep psychological impact upon our minds but there is a positive lesson too and that lesson is….. “If you want to know who the people of Pakistan are, come and observe our unity when we respond to the evil when we face a tragedy…..”
The blogger – a journalist – is currently working as a correspondent in a News Channel. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org