Damn their eyes

Published: December 19, 2014
The writer is a columnist, a former major of the Pakistan Army and served as press secretary to Benazir Bhutto 

The writer is a columnist, a former major of the Pakistan Army and served as press secretary to Benazir Bhutto kamran.shafi@tribune.com.pk

I thought I simply would not be able to write this week, so heart-broken am I after seeing the pictures of the innocent children so cruelly cut down by the savages; savages who are the children, by their own admission, of people like Hamid Gul and Maulana Samiur Rehman. Always first to parcel the blame elsewhere, many such warriors, including self-same Hamid Gul are already out making excuses for the TTP (in spite of the fact that it has accepted responsibility for the carnage), saying it was actually Indian agents.

But write it I had to, if only to commiserate with the parents and the family members of the teachers and staff, and of the three young soldiers who too had gone to the school to drop their little children for another day of learning that turned into a nightmare of blood and gore, and screams of agony and pain. And to send a big laanat and a bigger dur fittay muun on the perpetrators and their aiders and abettors. May they all rot in hell.

Let me add here and now that whilst our hearts break for the little children who have so cruelly been robbed of their lives by the murderous monsters, these monsters (and their cousins) have long spread mayhem and murder in this hapless country. Many of them have proudly taken responsibility for the killing of, say our Shia brothers and sisters and their children. Indeed of our Ahmadi brothers and sisters and their children.

A reminder:

Meena Bazaar, Peshawar, October 28, ’09: 137 dead, 200 severely injured, mainly women and children. Moon Market, Lahore, December 7, ’09: 60 dead, 80 injured. TWO Ahmadi Mosques, Lahore, May 28, ’10: 94 killed, 120 injured. Hazara Town, Quetta, February 16, ’13: 110 dead, 200 injured. All Saints Church, Peshawar, 22 Sept., ’13: 127 dead, 250 injured. Wagah Ceremony, Lahore, November 2, ’14: 60 dead, 100 injured.

Note please that there have been many other attacks against the minorities including the Shia; some proceeding to Iran for Ziarat; some going home for Eid to Hunza and Skardu. Tens more have died in these attacks, most of which have been claimed by the various militant and violent organisations that do as they will in this country, even driving official policy. Incidentally, the Wagah attack has been claimed by TWO: Jundullah, and the TTP, so proud are they of their handiwork.

But back to the present: Already some of our TV channels are running riot, calling them ‘foreigners who were speaking Arabic/Dari/Uzbek’, you name it; and others still putting them down as the agents of un-named foreign powers out to break up Pakistan, with not a shred of evidence. Anything to fob off the matter; and to shovel it elsewhere, as long as it is away from our pristine land.

Let’s consider for a moment that these murdering beasts were, say, Arabs paid by India to wreak havoc in this country. The first question is how they got to the school (unless they parachuted on to it!) located in Peshawar, a heavily fortified town in a dangerous part of the world? Were they given local hospitality on their way through our tribal areas and in and around Peshawar until they were ready to embark on their murderous spree? If so why didn’t our myriad intelligence agencies; the K-P police, and its CID etcetera, know?

The dastardly and cruel Peshawar attack on school children was a long time coming; the murderous brutes called the TTP were bound to hit back considering the effective way in which they are being targeted by the army and air force under a clear-eyed leadership, disrupting their lines of communication; destroying their hideouts, some located in the middle of thriving bazaars in Fata.

There is much, too, on the social media about whether this is our war or not, the majority at last accepting that it is, indeed, our war. I’ve been crying myself hoarse over many years that it IS. I give below two links to old articles and a short excerpt: On May 23, 2010 I wrote in Dawn and on August 16, 2012, writing in this paper of record

And on May 3, 2013 I had written in this paper: ‘I say to the “this is not our war” crowd: for heaven’s sake wake up even now, and open your eyes and ears to the daily salvoes being let loose by the TTP. According to a report in this newspaper of record of April 30, Hakeemullah Mehsud has said from an undisclosed location that the “TTP’s aim would be to end the democratic system”. The report goes on: “Mehsud also urged TTP militants to target senior politicians and party leaders, while continuing the battle against security forces”.

‘Why don’t those political leaders who are on the right side of the TTP today realise that tomorrow they, too, will be on its wrong side: when they preside over the army’s efforts to rid the country of this monstrous scourge? For there is no other way, the traditional tribal leaders having been killed by the Taliban and their foreign fighters’.

So, in the end, heartfelt condolences to all who have lost their loved ones. May Almighty God grant you the strength to bear your irreparable loss. May he also grant strength and wisdom to our leaders to cut off the head of the snake now that the knife is sharpened, lest it bite even more horrifically the next time around.

The brilliant writer Mohammed Hanif:

“Pakistan ki siyasi aur askari qiadat sey darkhawast hai keh woh inn bachon ki akhrat kay baray mein pareshan na hoan; Aur jab dua kay liye haath uthayen tau apni maghfarat kay liye dua mangain; Aur dua keh liye inn haathon ko ghaur say dekhein: keh inn par khoon kay dhabbay tau nahin”. Made me weep.

P.S. Was listening to Canon in D: Neville Marriner – Academy of St. Martin In The Fields, and Bob Dylan’s ‘It’s all over Baby Blue’ as I wrote this, which has proved to be one of the most difficult pieces I have ever written.

Published in The Express Tribune, December 19th,  2014.

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Reader Comments (19)

  • Rex Minor
    Dec 19, 2014 - 2:28AM

    Perhaps you should have taken a break Sir, during the last days of 2014, instead of counting the casualties from the past terrorist acts. Forgotten are the majority of Pakistanis who suffered genocide from the Pakistan army with impunity. Those who came to Peshawar were not savages but monsters from the prehistoric times who reportedly went in to avenge the death of their women and children on account of the war of terror which is being waged in the waziristan and KPK landscape and towns. The question you as a trained soldier officer be dealing with is the security lap on the watch of newly promoted COAS and the consequences thereof.
    We in the rest of the world will be engaged in grief for the setback of the civilisation in
    your part of the world where violence and death has become a norm in the country.

    Rex Minor


  • Dr. Mohamed Boodhun
    Dec 19, 2014 - 6:05AM

    Thanks Mr. Shafi. You wrote from your heart. Very well said.


  • somendra khosla
    Dec 19, 2014 - 9:23AM

    my heart bleeds when I read this. Sanity must prevail. many thanks for writing candidly.


  • raider
    Dec 19, 2014 - 2:42PM

    first i and u use these people like pawn when purpose is served then let them to thrive on their own and any one ask them to be a terrorists then we operate against them when they retaliate blindly then we and i cry and weep


  • Ranjha
    Dec 19, 2014 - 3:10PM

    Tick, tck, tick, tock–let’s see what the habitual ditherers come up with in 5 days!!!!

    Tick, tock, tick, tock…..


  • Dec 19, 2014 - 3:18PM

    @Rex Minor:
    You comments have always been anti Pakistan. That is sad.
    You are an apologist for the TTP. And all these sick wahoos in
    FATA and KPK.. Germany is it ? Pray the Hun Marmeladingers
    do not find out about you. Or the Boche police will send you back
    to join your brothers in FATA,…your original home.


  • Parvez
    Dec 19, 2014 - 3:36PM

    Second attempt at a comment : Decidedly your best…….so far.


  • nizamuddin khan
    Dec 19, 2014 - 5:32PM

    So where do we go from here? Yes…the entire country has felt the pain…everyone sees the lost opportunity to save young lives…and everyone hopes it does not happen to their near and dear ones. As long as the terrorists are able to arm themselves and plan meticulously their next attack can we successfully stop them?

    We educate our children and arm them with the knowledge that they will need when they grow up…are we ever able to take it back from them if they misuse their education or their ability to apply the knowledge that they have gained…absolutely not…right?

    Regretfully…all we may ever be able to do is foil each attempt by the terrorists before they get to fully realize their plans…if they outsmart us…then live with the pain for a while and get back to fight them again.


  • Humza
    Dec 19, 2014 - 7:26PM

    @Rex Minor: Sad that a refugee living in Europe on compassionate grounds can’t distinguish between right and wrong. The killing of children only shows a barbarity that defies understanding. Why you should want to justify such barbarity is beyond me but you should be ashamed of yourself. Imagine for a moment that you expressed such views in public with your real name in the country where you cried for asylum. You said you were fleeing persecution before you were accepted as a refugee where you now live. If authorities knew that you were an apologist for child killers and terrorists, how would they react? Cowards who kill children and their handlers, whether in Afghanistan or India deserve justice and I am sure that the security forces will track down the criminals who are behind such senseless slaughter.


  • Z H Hashmi
    Dec 19, 2014 - 8:08PM

    @ Rex Minor , dear brother I feel petty and sorry for your approach of viewing the situation in Pakistan . I am not doubting your patriotism, but feeling sorry for insanity and lack of common sense.


  • nomi
    Dec 19, 2014 - 10:55PM

    Mr. Shafi

    How can you just absolve India of everything? Do you expect us to believe that india has no part to play?

    Insurgency in Pakistan whether religious or secular have been funded wholeheartedly by Indian establishment and their tax payers.

    One completely agrees with you on Pakistan’s incompetence, but giving a clean chit to india is reprehensible to say the least.


  • Afghan Maihan
    Dec 20, 2014 - 3:46AM

    @ Rex Minor

    Thanks for highlighting the plight of the Pashtun people at the hands of the establishment. Pakistanis tend to ignore this inconvenient truth and confuse the TTP with common Pashtuns who have suffered from the policies of the establishment that lorded militant outfits over common Pashtun folk to serve their myopic agendas. Indeed, there is a concerted effort to kill as many Pashtun people and their leaders as possible on both sides of the Durand Line by all parties involved.

    The establishment uses religious clerics who roam freely in Punjab to create militant outfits to suppress ethnic nationalism in KPK, Balochistan and Sindh and these religious nuts now have their own agenda.

    Eqbal Ahmad wrote a great article in 1998 titled “A mirage mis-named strategic depth”, which eloquently and presciently spelled out the future of Pakistan. The establishment does not learn from history and realize that killing your own people and alienating your neighbors is a recipe for disaster.


  • Humza
    Dec 20, 2014 - 12:00PM

    @Afghan Maihan: No one in Pakistan confuses the TTP with common Pashtuns, least of all Pashtuns who have suffered at their hands.You can play your petty politics but the majority of people in KPK including my own family have welcomed the determination to control the menace of cowards who kill children and women. It is known that handlers for the cowards were based across the border in Afghanistan which is why the army chief rushed there shortly after the attack to show Afghan and ISAF authorities the evidence. The nation including people in KPK are awaiting the results. Unless there is co operation by Kabul, consensus is to bring the cowards to justice, even if it means crossing the border. I can only imagine your Indian agenda of using Afghanistan as a base for strategic depth as has been the case since 1947. It’s ironic that you speak of strategic depth and alienating your neighbors when you know this has been the Indian recipe for the last 60 years.Former US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel only confirmed as much. Using Afghanistan as a lackey has only brought death and destruction to people in that country. Trying to export violence to Pakistan through agents in Afghanistan has failed and you will see unity in the face of this barbarity including among Pak Pashtun. Why do you think there is a rush to deport illegal Afghans? I hope that saner minds in India and Afghanistan understand the way forward is to work together and create understanding. India should realize that playing with fire will not bring any stability to the region.


  • Rex Minor
    Dec 20, 2014 - 3:05PM

    @Z H Hashmi:

    ET MOD;. please tell these gentlemen that you are not printing my reply for appropriate reasons. I am neither a patriot nor brother of any.I comment what I must and without any malice or biased.

    Rex Minor


  • Humza
    Dec 20, 2014 - 11:51PM

    @Rex Minor:I am not sure whether we need to hear your reply or whether you should address your views to the relevant authorities in Germany. As you know the Interior Ministry in Germany or Abteilung IS of the Bundesministerium des Innern looks into residents, including asylum seekers in Germany who express radical or extremist views. It doesn’t surprise me that you feel no patriotism to your land of asylum or any other land or that you have no brotherly feelings for your fellow man or towards the innocent children in Peshawar who were killed by cowards. Learn from your stay in Europe and try to educate yourself about the horrors of propaganda. Being an apologist for mass murderers is nothing to crow about.


  • Ranjha
    Dec 21, 2014 - 2:12AM

    Tick, tock, tick tock….only four days left now for the “elected” “democrats” to come up with an impotent statement on fighting terrorism. I am waiting to fry the crow for you.

    Tick, tock, tick, tock…..Recommend

  • Bahadurkhan
    Dec 21, 2014 - 9:14AM

    Dear mr kam ran
    Please put a case in international court of justice blaming india for Peshawar murder.
    Kindly solve your problems or leave us alone. Or close your 67 year old drama.
    This a migraine for us since 1947.


  • Dec 21, 2014 - 3:25PM

    @Rex Minor:
    Your response was not a surprise at all. Indeed.
    Certainly, as you admitted, you are not a patriot.
    It takes compassion, a humane understanding, a
    oneness with other human beings to evoke feelings,..
    of belonging to a Land, even an adopted one. But
    you have none. Somewhere your hate took over.
    And it runs your life. Well,.good riddance.for Paks.Recommend

  • Rex Minor
    Dec 21, 2014 - 9:35PM

    Yor are a dumb individual. Will the ET mod be good enough to tell this character that the Express Tribune paper is now under censure restrictions in publication of critical comments from abroad?

    Rex Minor


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