Peshawar School Massacre, the death knell of Taliban

Peshawar School Massacre, the death knell of Taliban

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One of the most abhorrent crimes in human history was carried out today in Peshawar (16th December 2014). The enormity of this event, cannot be fathomed by words. Innocent lives were lost not through a freak accident or by the wrath of Mother Nature, but by depth of heinousness of human capacity. A deadly attack unfolded on a school in Peshawar that took lives, child by child.

Horror stories are coming out; how the captives threw fuel over one of the teachers and children were made to watch him burn alive, that was before the gunmen carried out their indiscriminate shooting. Over 140 souls perished. Almost all of them (132) were children. A nation weeps. The whole world, not just the country is in a state of shock and even Pakistani expats are finding themselves in paralysis abroad.

Amongst the mourning, voices of anger are starting to rise and they will only grow. People are asking for a stronger action against the perpetrators. The army alone cannot fight this battle. The onus falls also on the civil society.

This attack was carried out in retaliation to the military operation carried out by Pakistani armed forces against the Taliban in their strong hold (Waziristan). They took their revenge and they took it out in the most monstrous way possible. One can expect more from animals in following a code of honour than the Pakistani Taliban. In fact it is certainly demeaning to animals to be compared to the TTP (Tehreek- e Taliban Pakistan).

Terrorism is not just a phenomenon that plagues the west or the developed world. It has killed more Muslims in the Islamic world than is widely known. Over 50,000 people have lost their lives in Pakistan alone during the last 12 years. At a time when people were still trying to come to terms with the events in Sydney, this horror unfolded thousands of miles away. This highlights the global nature of the threat of terrorism.

The only way forward therefore is not just to target the terrorist but the ideology that produces one. That ideology must be examined and understood. It is easy to go after the criminal but harder to go after the crime. The way forward to stop such barbaric acts is to finish the conveyer belt of the monsters in the making. And that is the ideologue of the terrorist.

This lends a far more responsibility to the ulemas, the religious scholars, to identify, isolate and weed out the elements within the religious sphere and the society that have left the state in ruins. Pakistan must realize it needs to counter the perverse form of Wahabism that is being practiced far and wide and has produced deep chasms in its own progressive religious narrative. Whether its treatment of women or minorities, be it the issue of blasphemy or education and even the army neo-wahabism is at odds with values which Pakistan once stood for.

Pakistan is red hot, Pakistan is seething. Pakistan has to channel its anger and galvanize this energy into blocks that confine the Taliban mentality in dungeons of history. No longer its people can sit on the fence, no longer can they afford a lukewarm response. Only complete public consensus will cut it and this event can be the catalyst in bringing everyone on the same page.

The massacre of school kids in Peshawar for now dwarfs the other tragedy that Pakistan faced on 16th of December 1971, namely, the fall of Dhaka. This is a turning point for Pakistan; it needs to decide whether it can afford more of the same or eradicate such events into oblivion. Time is short, jury is out and ball is in Pakistan’s court.

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