Unhappy New Year

Closure will only come when this Taliban menace is wiped off the face of the region and the world

Kamran Shafi January 01, 2015
The writer is a columnist, a former major of the Pakistan Army and served as press secretary to Benazir Bhutto [email protected]

For what else is it when 150 schoolchildren and their teachers, and by-standers, are cruelly murdered by monsters in the garb of human beings bang smack in the middle of Peshawar Cantonment, in broad daylight, just 15 days before 2015 dawned?

Whilst we have seen women and children die before in the hundreds in other wanton attacks on the innocent by that horror called the TTP, this school attack seems all the more poignant and so, so sad. “There are some children hiding under the desks, go AND SHOOT THEM,” shouts one of the animals. Two of them then go looking for the children and shoot them in the head. Another says into his mobile phone, “We have killed all the children and teachers, now what do we do?”

Not content on just shooting the children, and possibly on instructions from their handler said to be located somewhere at the Afghanistan-Pakistan border, the militants went further to satisfy their blood-lust by burning a lady schoolteacher. This report was later denied but an email containing a letter from a Brigadier Tariq did confirm that his dear wife was indeed murdered cruelly, in that way. Heartless b*******.

A Twitter pal was also kind enough to send me an FB post by Brigadier Tariq (to whom my heart goes out in no small measure), confirming that his wife, poor thing, was burnt. Another person responded on Twitter and said the ISPR had clarified that she wasn’t “burnt”; that she just hid in the bathroom and the monsters hurled a grenade into it. Well, big difference! How in heaven’s name does it matter in which way that good human being was slaughtered? Poor lady, may she rest in eternal peace.

As an aside, if we could find within a few hours where the handler was located from his phone conversation with his murdering charges, sending COAS Raheel Sharif rushing to Afghanistan to demand the immediate handing over of Mullah Fazlullah, how is it that the spokesmen for the dastardly TTP who stay in constant touch with news reporters and news agencies, even foreign news agencies abroad, by mobile and satellite phones cannot be pinpointed and, say, droned?

What sorts of animals are these, for God’s sake? If the reader will Google my articles going back to 2003, it will become apparent that many like myself have been sounding warnings that these so-called ‘wayward brothers’ are nothing of the sort: that they are hell-bent on taking over the whole blessed country by force in tandem with others of their ilk be they the Afghan Taliban; al Qaeda, whoever (now we have the Islamic State in the mix too — most recently seen in wall-chalkings in DIK, listening Imran Khan?), and then to export the Caliphate to foreign shores. That they were joined at the hip, the lot of them. That we should not procrastinate and hem and haw while they went about their murderous way.

In-built in this collaboration was the takeover once more of Afghanistan, and a return to the medievalism of the last Taliban mis-rule in that unfortunate country. What one could not understand was why action on Swat was delayed; what one could not understand was why Mullah Fazlullah (aka Mullah Radio)’s FM radio on which the murderer broadcast daily messages on who was to be beheaded at Khooni Chowk that night. I mean if the handler of the Peshawar murderers could be found through a phone call, why not Mullah Radio’s FM radio…?

But that is much water down the Swat River and under the Indus Bridge: what we must ask now is what is being done to unearth what actually happened and who the helpers/facilitators of the Army Public School atrocity were? Where is the Court of Inquiry? Has any been ordered by the authorities concerned? There are rumours in the hundreds going around what will happen when the institutions concerned are not forthcoming with the truth in this age of instant communication.

Quite frankly, the APS attack and the raft of statements; the raft of denials and back-tracking has left a stunned nation flummoxed too. What is there to hide anyway? The fact is that 140, or more, innocent lives, most very young children have been brutally killed. It is imperative that closure is brought to their deaths by exposing the facts, and punishing those who did the gory killings and those who helped them. Indeed, as the case of Mrs Tariq amply illustrates, we must know what exactly happened.

Likewise, first reports said the murderers were dressed in army fatigues; another that they were dressed in Frontier Corps uniforms. Photos of the dead militants when shown on the media showed them dressed in shalwar kameez. It was then said that they changed out of their fake uniforms into shalwar kameez before going on their killing spree. Yet again, it was quickly put out that these were not the pictures of the present lot of murderers but those killed after another atrocity some time ago.

Again, first reports said the killers were speaking in Arabic; next came news that they were speaking Uzbek; yet again that they were speaking Seraiki. What I want to know is what the hell of difference does it make whether they stole into the school in this or that uniform; or in shalwar kameez? How the hell does it matter what language they were speaking? The fact is that they were cold-blooded and cruel murderers who have killed MY children and MY brothers and sisters. May the Almighty damn them to hell!

Let me add that closure will not come by merely hanging seven people convicted of attacking or planning to attack the Commando; or/and indeed ‘immediately’ executing the 500 convicts sentenced to death for terrorism and waiting on death row. Closure will only come when the bare facts of the Peshawar killings are shown to the country, indeed to the world. Closure will only come when this Taliban menace is wiped off the face of the region and the world.

Published in The Express Tribune, January 2nd,  2015.

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Ali Ahmed | 5 years ago | Reply | Recommend

The blood lust that has gripped Pakistanis is scary. In our haste for revenge, we have to be careful not to estoop to the low level of those that think killing civilians is acceptable. Pakistanis should have come out united and angry when the first school was attacked in the 2006 Chengai airstrikes, where over 80 children were killed by airstrikes. Extremism will only breed more extremism.

Parvez | 5 years ago | Reply | Recommend

Third ( short ) attempt at a comment....Closure will come when those who tacitly or openly support the terrorist OR religious extremist thinking, ARE EXPOSED and dealt with. Even today we have two prominent cases in the media and on social network......that are begging to be addressed......and NOTHING IS BEING DONE ABOUT THEM. ( ET : I hope you print this because I've been as vague as I can possibly be )

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