Echo of a haunting guilt

Published: December 28, 2014
The writer is Executive Director News, Express News. He tweets @fahdhusain

The writer is Executive Director News, Express News. He tweets @fahdhusain

So by forging a consensus and crafting a plan, are you doing us a favour, huh? You want credit for what you get paid to do? You want us to thank you for waking up from your slumber after the massacre of 132 of our beautiful children? Is that how the logic goes in whatever cuckoo land you live in?


The sickness afflicting our ruling elite cannot be cured by a national plan or any other fancy-named strategy. No sir, this sickness, this disease goes deeper and incapacitates their ability to see what the people feel. And what do we feel? Gut-wrenching pain at what happened in Peshawar — or what was allowed to happen in Peshawar.

Yes, allowed. Feel the weight of this word here: allowed. Now let this word enter your bloodstream like poison. Let it circulate in your veins till it forces involuntary convulsions and inflammation so intense your body bursts into combustion. This is how the pain feels like. To us.

And to them? To them, this is a moment to show us their political prowess. This is the time to regain their long lost mojo; to clip on the spurs and hop back on the saddle. Good. This is better than being brooding, reluctant and confused at a time when clarity of purpose is a job requirement. Yet this clarity must cut across all boundaries. And so before the rulers start gloating over their new-found resolve — cemented on the bodies of 132 children — they should start by apologising for their crimes against this nation.

Yes all of you who sat across that table in the Prime Minister’s House that day, every single one of you stand up, look the nation in the eye, and say: “I am sorry”. Say it. Say it aloud. Shout it aloud. Scream it till you have no air left in your lungs and no sound in your throat. Then shed tears. Shed them till you have none left because you — all of you — allowed 132 of our beautiful children to be slaughtered by these beasts.

You Mr Prime Minister, you Mr Army Chief, you Mr Imran Khan, you Mr Fazlur Rehman, you Mr Sirajul Haq, you Mr what’s-your-name from the PPP, the MQM, the ANP, etc., you all first apologise for what you or your institution/party has done, and not done, to reduce us to this sorry state. Admit your crime, confess your guilt, and beg forgiveness from the nation.

Yes, this is a changed Pakistan because we the people cannot stomach your duality anymore; because we cannot digest your lies anymore; we cannot swallow the hypocritical policy that you have always peddled; and we certainly cannot accept the crass incompetence you all have displayed again, and again, and again.

So apologise, dear general, for creating the monsters who feed on our children. The past cannot be wished away just like this. You have to face your demons. Say it. Go ahead, mouth those words: “I am sorry we followed a policy that bred these monsters for grand designs. I am sorry those grand designs exploded like grenades in our hands and the monsters we created are now feasting on our little babies.”

Apologise, dear lily-livered politician, for mollycoddling these terrorists by calling them our misdirected brethren. Apologise for insisting on talking to them when you knew the only language they understand is the one that spouts out of a barrel. Yes, you Mr Khan, apologise for your apologistic policy towards these murderers, and you Mr Fazlur Rehman and Mr Sirajul Haq for your continued reluctance to cleanse the filth of terrorism in every sense.

Apologise Mr Sharif for your sheer incompetence in running this country; for not reforming the police and the judiciary; for refusing to treat our rotting education system as the absolute priority; for your audacious short-sightedness for investing in brick and mortar, not in flesh and bone. Say sorry for not admitting the militancy problem in Punjab and doing absolutely nothing about it. Apologise for your laidback style of governance; apologise for your inability to comprehend the absolute necessity of reform, and your lack of capacity to visualise a future for this glorious nation; apologise for your nepotism and cronyism, and for your fabulous failure to give any sense of direction or purpose to your electorate.

Apologise Mr MQM, ANP, PPP for the hell-hole that you have transformed Karachi into; for the bloodletting you have allowed in this metropolis; for the anarchy you have let loose in the guise of political expediency. Say sorry for your continuing disastrous governance and for letting militancy and terror breed in your city; say sorry for your shocking absence of sincerity and equally shocking lack of ability to rule with honesty and ability. Apologise for being unfit to rule this nation.

You — all of you — have the audacity to solicit praise for your plans now? Now? After the brutal murder of thousands of us? Have you looked in the mirror and seen the grotesque reflection that stares back at you?

So before you puff up your chest and proclaim the dawn of a new era, and before you expect a shower of national gratitude to rain upon your mandated being; before any of this, you make a pilgrimage. You — all of you — go to the little graves of our 132 children, and you stand with you head bowed. Then you apologise to these angels for who you are, what you have stood for, and all that you have done to make this country the mess it is. You apologise to these angels for not letting them live the lives they deserved, and you apologise for making them sleep not on their beds, but under the mounds of this earth.

And then, only then, do you talk to us about your resolve, and your determination and your freshly grown spine. Because you — all of you — should know well that a thousand grand national plans cannot wash away the blood of these children from your manicured hands.

Published in The Express Tribune, December 28th, 2014.

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Reader Comments (30)

  • Rex Minor
    Dec 28, 2014 - 12:50AM

    The problem which the author Mr Hussain has is that from the grief he gets rapidly angry and it sets in uncontrolled emotions which overshadow the reality. The fact is that he is facing professional actors in the Government, the opposition, the army and all other beurocrats who are used to performing the theatrical act every time the country faces the tragedy
    Rex MinorRecommend

  • Singh
    Dec 28, 2014 - 12:57AM

    I wish this fire burn in every Pakistani heart like it is burning in Mr. Fahid.
    Thanks Fahid putting my emotion into word. I am not Pakistani but I also pained as much as you are.
    SS Walia


  • Wali
    Dec 28, 2014 - 1:01AM

    I wish someone could read this article loud when the next APC/round-table or whatever they want to call it in the name of action plan!


  • F Khan
    Dec 28, 2014 - 1:24AM

    He has nothing but hate for Sharif.Can not think beyond it.Hate makes a person blind.Pull out his last 6 month write up you get nothing except personal criticism, hate and jiya jiya imran khan.


  • Asif Alam
    Dec 28, 2014 - 1:46AM

    best Op-Ed of 2014 – thank you Fahd for converting the sentiments of so many of us into words.


  • raider
    Dec 28, 2014 - 2:00AM

    you writer hits the nail on the head by truly expressing the very voice of the unfortunate nation in fair and excited mood, but fahd you could not go beyond sorry and apology, for these dinosaurs which should be accounted for and punished for the parable of crimes associated to them, apology in Pakistan is considered political death and writer naively and innocently demanding sorry for their business providing them blood to be remained relevant in the same very stained political landscape, still they are waiting for the incident be washed off from minds of the peoples and they could run their business as usual just handing over all to army and themselves enjoying executive and feeding dishes and making merry at conferences and endorsing committees good for nothing.


  • ishrat salim
    Dec 28, 2014 - 2:44AM

    Thank you Fahd, but we as a nation only learnt to be in a state of perpetual denial. We have no word like ” Sorry “, ” Resign ” in our dictionary or culture. We also do not have the moral courage to own it, nor accept responsibility, but , YES! we do like to be given fat salary, perks etc; from public exchequer i.e from tax-payers money, yet WE will not say sorry ! you heard Mr Fahd…& we have people from amongst us who are upporters of those scums you have mentioned who killed our 70,000 people, yet NO SORRY, whom are you expecting sorry from Mr Fahd ? these scums will not even say sorry to Allah swt, so we are far from that…..good try Mr Fahd…people like me & you Mr Fahd, curse the day we were born in Pakistan to be called a Pakistani…we are not fit to called a Pakistani, where we do not have value for human lives ” when a animal mother heard of the APS killing of school kids, told her kids, it is good we do not have to send our kids to school “…


  • Mushtaq
    Dec 28, 2014 - 3:59AM

    Brilliant and courageous writing. Expecting apologies from these folks is like an oxymoron; characters gracious and honest enough to offer meaningful apologies would never allow such incidents to take place under their governance, in first place.


  • raider
    Dec 28, 2014 - 11:27AM

    @F Khan:
    how a person could help stopping him holding a pen in his hand keeping thousand readers when he thoughts of nil vision and performance of a dynasty reigning thrice at federal and 6th at provincial with population more than 50% and still cut a sorry figure as their outcome is analysed subtly after one and half year


  • Mustafa
    Dec 28, 2014 - 1:34PM

    Dear Author

    It is complicated


  • Mansoor Ahmad
    Dec 28, 2014 - 2:45PM

    A brave man Fahad. You been always brave and fearless. I love you, you have the strength to say the truth, to expose the hypocrisy & dramas being played within our corridors of power. I agree that the power wielding elements in the political JATHAS (groups) and the military who were reluctant in weeding out the menace of hatred must apologize to the nation , especially the parents of the children lost in APS Peshawar

    I would further add with here with stress that all the MADRASSAS (Muslim seminaries) be nationalized without delay and converted into formal educational institutions of the respective provincial governments so as to eliminate any chance of further breeding of the hate & hateful elements. These MADRASSAS are in fact the nurseries of terrorists that history is witness how they were produces and sent at the war fronts in Afghanistan after 9/11, in tthe so called JIHAD against Russia – the infidel.


  • Parvez
    Dec 28, 2014 - 3:47PM

    You could not be more forceful….or more right…..and yet one feels that ALL our leaders really don’t care and will obfuscate the situation and work it to their advantage….as they all have their exit strategies in place. The people have only themselves to rely on.
    After BB was murdered the question was asked ‘ who benefits from this ? ‘……..surprisingly after the Peshawar incident no one has asked this question.


  • F Khan
    Dec 28, 2014 - 4:53PM

    @rider: Tell me in the history of this country how many politicians you will find making themselves responsible and saying sorry for all they have been doing. Why to apply this golden exception with the amount of venom and personal attacks only on NS. Just to clarify I am not a NS fan but Fahad has nothing to do except hate and personal attacks on Sharifs. Just pull out his 25 write up you get nothing except targeting NS/SS. Show me where he has written Khan Sb also should take the blame for APS attack as his party rules the province. All the sledging for NS and all the jiya jiya for IK. This is my point. Ba Ba write something else except personal hate attacks on NS/SS. No one is perfect that applies for all including NS and IK. That’s my point.


  • Ahsan
    Dec 28, 2014 - 5:34PM

    IK, Nawaz are the main culprits in supporting Taliban


  • Faheem
    Dec 28, 2014 - 6:43PM

    @F Khan: i think it would be good to first look at the leilative performance of thr incumbent government before pointing fingers at the author.


  • Majid Azim
    Dec 28, 2014 - 8:14PM

    Weldon Fahd Hussain. A good work provided they, for whom its meant, read it. But we as a Nation also must apologise for not behaving as a one united nation. We have not shown resolve to get rid of these corrupt leaders and these monsters from our society. What have we done, we go for petty gains, some of us harbour these beasts and others keep ignoring it.Haven’t we made ourselves hostage to different mafias/ mullahs? We have to become NATION and you media persons have to play important role with out going for financial gains and behaving true/patriotic PAKISTANI. May Allah bless us all.


  • raja
    Dec 28, 2014 - 9:13PM

    The best article on that tragic incident. All of us should apologize to those martyred kids.


  • Zab
    Dec 28, 2014 - 10:20PM

    when a nation has leaders like present lot in my beloved land of pure, it does not need any outside enemies. I am afraid in few days they will be back to their usual selves and all will be good for them and their children. People must realize that state is sliding dangerously towards a ditch and the clowns at the helm of affairs cannot see beyond their nose or I should say pockets. It will be no use crying later, get up and do something now, or it will be never. We will have only tears to shed and yoke of slavery to contend with. If we do not save Pakistan, God will not.


  • Shahbaz
    Dec 28, 2014 - 10:22PM

    Yes, these incompetent ruler’s r the root cause of all of this. They dnt deserve to even apologise. Wht they do deserve is da same fate those beasts deserve. They r deserve to die. Recommend

  • Zahoor Danish
    Dec 28, 2014 - 10:59PM

    The strongest and boldest write-up I have ever read so far. Although it is hours since I read it, I am still in the grip of the article. So true, so realistic and so bold. I am unable to understand what art was at work to successfully express the writer’s emotions and sentiments in words. There are no words in this whole write-up, I believe. They are NOT words. They are nails—meant to be driven into the very hearts of rulers and ruled; ‘protectors and protected’ alike.


  • Khalid Rashid Lodhi
    Dec 29, 2014 - 1:04AM

    Mr Fahd every sane person in the entire world would agree with you.You have transformed the
    Tears , sighs and cries of Nation into words.There is no iota of doubt in the fact that we as as nation have no right to exist if we cannot prevent slaughtering of children from these beasts, particularly it is true for people at the helm of affairs.They are shedding crocodiles tears after
    the massacre of innocent souls.Their sympathisers , supporters and facilitators should go and fight Americans or NATO forces, these Cowards cannot face the Powerful forces and find innocent Civilians and Children of our country.There is no denying the fact that not Single Terrorist could succeed in our country unless supported, guided or facilitated from within. There no need of media campaigns of Government’s meetings,committees and formulation of policies,.
    Just ensure that existing laws are abided, administration Justice is ensured and all those who fall short of National Aims & Objectives ,must be taken to Task. We must not blame outside forces for our weaknesses, accept and apologise from the Nation , fight Nation and
    last but not the least Die for the Nation.


  • Tariq Ahsan
    Dec 29, 2014 - 3:56AM

    Tragedy is,not a lot had to be done to prevent Peshawer school attack,and to minimise casualties once security had been breached. The counter terrorism strategy of passive defence coupled with talks favoured by Nawaz, Imran,and the army would also require effective round the clock protection of soft targets such such as schools in urban areas.Even that simple endeavour was not made.Shame on our elite.


  • Jimmy
    Dec 29, 2014 - 7:10AM

    Well done Fahd, very well written with courage. I have to add that only sorry from these people, is not what we the people want. We want accountability from the persons who were responsible to allow this ghastly masacre of the the innocent children and the teachers.


  • Rubina smith
    Dec 29, 2014 - 12:36PM

    Well written article from the heart !!

    If there is even a shadow of accountability and/or shame left in the politicians and more importantly amongst the army generals, we should get a response to this!!

    Rubina Smith


  • Naeem Khan
    Dec 29, 2014 - 6:18PM

    I totally agree with Mr Fahads sentiments and argument.

    About 60,000 Pakistanis have lost their lives since 9/11. Is the massacre of children in Peshawar the final straw for the society to accept the fact that Islamic terrorism and extremism has deep set roots in the Pakiistani culture.

    We can trace back the Islamization of Pakistan to Zulfiqar Bhuttos persecution of Ahmadi’s, followed by Zias Islamic theocracy and creation of Taliban, to Musharafs double game, including the so called democratic governments dancing to the tune of fundamentalism.

    I wonder if the Pakistani culture is excessively self absorbed and driven by Islamic ideology as a way of life to have created the leaders it deserved.

    A hallmark of any civilised culture is the capacity for critical thought and reflection. It is at the core of social, political, economic, scientific and religious progress.


  • raider
    Dec 29, 2014 - 6:21PM

    @F Khan:
    why should he not target a person has been in power since long ago with a province which is considered as major province of Pakistan, why should he not target a person enjoying both reign of federal(in the past with even 2/3 majority) and most populated and educated province with the scour of his brother, why should he not target person running his business and allegedly considered grown fate when ever came in power and can u dear quot a example in world where democracy prevails and one bother as pm and other cm of province with population of more than 56% of country total populace while u pointed out dear that why imran is not being equivalently targeted, it is too hilarious a person recently gained popularity after a long struggle has never been pm ,cm or at any executive post in past and even in current scenario and even his party is in power in coalition not majority in a province teemed with foreigner militants province with compromised writ, foreign intervention and more importantly a province with ruined by war and affecting directly by Federal govt policies, an even khan a man which could have not been purchased or en corrupted in Pakistan and in the world, when ever he will do the same business will be targeted more than sharif because people expect more from him than Sharifs


  • baba ji
    Dec 30, 2014 - 3:36PM

    Wrath…!!!!! love you Fahad Hussain.


  • Irfan Husain
    Jan 4, 2015 - 2:07PM

    An article that came straight from the words. The writer exposes our politicians’ weasel words, and then kicks them into the gutter.


  • Irfan Husain
    Jan 4, 2015 - 2:08PM

    Sorry, that ought to have been ‘straight from the heart’.


  • Tariq
    Jan 6, 2015 - 12:22AM

    Incompetent and spineless leaders of Pakistan should share pain and suffering as did parents of 142 innocent children by sending their own sons and son in laws to fight talibans and terrorists the nation is demanding supreme sacrifice by all leaders who are responsible for complete regression


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