“Pakistan produces people of extraordinary bravery. But no nation should ever require its citizens to be that brave.” – Pakistani author, Nadeem Alsam.
I don’t need to tell you what happened in Pakistan yesterday. In a country where terror strikes are commonplace, you grow insensitive. You don’t flinch at the sound of a bomb, you don’t jolt at the sound of a gunshot. Death tolls that don’t touch the double digits don’t leave you in a state of shock, debilitated. Now, Pakistan has been left speechless. So I will borrow from the words of British Prime Minister, David Cameron, “[t]he scale of what has happened in Pakistan simply defies belief. It is a dark, dark day for humanity when something on this scale happens with no justification. There is not a belief system in the world that can justify such an act. I think what this shows is the worldwide threat that is posed by this poisonous ideology of extremist Islamist terrorism. It is nothing to do with one of the world’s great religions — Islam, which is a religion of peace. This is a perversion.”
It is a perversion that has left more than a hundred families in a state of despair. A perversion that has shattered the bravery and heart of millions of Pakistani’s around the world. A perversion that first enrages you and then leaves you weak, barren and completely helpless. There is always a sense of urgency and mission in Pakistan following an attack. There is a sense of community that comes from the most unexpected quarters, flocking to help those who have been hit by its newest catastrophe. This incident has left us in a shocking paralysis, flabbergasted at the nonsensical inhumanity of it all.
Pakistani officials have said that they will not stop the attacks on the terrorists that are being conducted as part of a mission: Zarb-e-Azb — “the sharp and cutting strike,” which the Taliban claims is the reason they have retaliated this morning. The Afghani Taliban have condemned these acts, as has every other sane person around the world. Meanwhile, political parties have been battling over year old elections and shutting down various cities in the country, distracting themselves and the world, the government and the army, from the most important tasks. This is not a moment for anger amid ourselves; rather, it is a time to get our priorities straight, to join resources (the few we have), energy, and efforts to fight this and promise the people of Pakistan that their children are safe in their homes, their schools and their places of worship.
So, it is without resentment or anger that all us Pakistani’s plead with the leading political parties, the parties that are responsible for the province of KPK, the government and all its factions to focus. Focus on the country that is falling to pieces as you battle out your pride. Focus on the families that have forever been destroyed, on the teachers that have lost their lives in their passion to teach, and on the ones that remain and are now fearful. Focus on what is being lost while you are fighting for your personal gain.