ISLAMABAD: The sheer absence of empathy of the capital residents, especially mainstream political parties, was felt by every conscientious soul, as hardly a hundred activist turned up at a rally on Thursday to protest the massacre at Bacha Khan University (BKU), Charsadda.
Over a 100 civil society members comprising academics, political, student and rights activists gathered outside the National Press Club (NPC) here to denounce the barbaric act.
“As a nation we have become apathetic to violence; 15 or 20 killings do not matter anymore,” physicist and intellectual Pervez Hoodbhoy said.
He said that the citizens’ response would have been far different had the attack occurred in any other country.
The speakers at the gathering not only condemned the incident in strongest words but also threw light on the state and its security agencies’ continuous failure on countering terrorism.
They also lambasted the government for its failure to implement the much-praised National Action Plan (NAP).
Hoodbhoy said that after the Army Public School, Peshawar attack in December 2014, the nation was assured by the army chief that the NAP would be implemented in its true spirit.
“Yesterday, we had a glimpse of its effective implementation at the Bacha Khan University, and if the outdated approach to tackling militancy did not change, we will continue to have such incidents in the future,” he warned.
Rights activist Farzana Bari said that the significant resources of the country were given to the army, the police and the law enforcement agencies in the name of providing protection to fellow countrymen but they appeared to have failed to meet their prime obligation.
“People send their children to schools to get an education not to become martyrs,” she said.
The Awami Workers Party (AWP) Information Secretary, Nisar Shah said that the State still considered terrorists and militant outfits their strategic assets.
He said the Interior Minister Chaudhary Nisar, who was responsible for the implementation of NAP, had been busy defending controversial Lal Masjid cleric Abdul Aziz in parliament. “This dual policy is only going to create further chaos,” Shah added.
The protest was organised by National Students Federation.
Muslim-Christian Unity Forum (MCUF) members also observed a candlelight
vigil for the victims. Representatives of National Students Foundation, Awami National Party (Wali), and AWP also spoke at the gathering.
Meanwhile, writers and traders in the city condemned the terrorist attack at BKU. Pakistan Academy of Letters (PAL) Chairperson Dr Muhammad Qasim Bughio, said in a statement, “We want to assure that writers will not be discouraged by terrorism.”
Published in The Express Tribune, January 22nd, 2016.
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