It is never a prudent idea to fight violence by arming and training people for more violence. The solution to keeping militants away from Peshawar’s schools was not to expose their teachers and students to more weapons. By principle, weapons are something to be kept far away from schools. Human advancement is achieved when weapons are put away and tools of education are brought forth. However, since this is a country whose leadership tends to operate backwards and often takes decisions in an inexplicable, irrational manner, the ominous story out of Mingora in which a 12-year-old student was accidentally shot dead by a teacher cleaning his weapon, is a consequence of this. The ineptitude on the part of authorities makes one irate because this is the precise reason many opposed this sloppy, so-called ‘solution’ to guard pupils from grand massacres such as the Army Public School (APS) attack.
The APS attack was tragically not enough to awaken our federal government from its on-going slumber. Only recently has it blinked upon realising the extent to which extremism has been woven into the fabric of Pakistani society. The response of authorities that it was impossible to provide guards to all schools was unreasonable.The federal government should have stepped in immediately and taken control of all security planning.The message being sent to students is that education is a life and death matter and unfortunately, that is the case in some regions of Pakistan. However, students should not be exposed on a daily basis to the war we are dealing with; they deserve safe environments surrounded by books, not guns, where they can concentrate on obtaining their education and improving their quality of life. The bottom line is that weapons should not be anywhere near school premises, nor near children, ever. We must remove arms from schools and implore the government to provide foolproof security rather than leaving the protection of students in the hands of teachers, who may or may not follow proper protocols.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 13th, 2015.