Lessons For Pakistan After The Peshawar School Tragedy

Because if this incident doesn't make the leaders reconsider their priorities, nothing ever will.

Peshawar School Attack

Adjectives synonymous to “tragic” or “heinous” in any language known to man would be an understatement to describe Tuesday’s brazen attack on a school run by the army in the northwestern city of Peshawar, Pakistan.

Around 141 people, most of them children between the ages of 12 and 16, were shot and killed by Taliban in Pakistan (aka TTP) terrorists.

The animals “defended” the massacre by saying that they wanted revenge for the Pakistani soldiers who have been hunting down Islamist insurgents in their strongholds for the past six months.

“The parents of the army school are army soldiers and they are behind the massive killing of our kids and indiscriminate bombing in North and South Waziristan,” a TTP commander stated in an interview. “To hurt them at their safe haven and homes—such an attack is perfect revenge.”

While the country’s military and intelligence has vowed to eradicate terrorists “till their final elimination” and as the nation marks three days of mourning, Pakistan – both people and the government – must learn some important lessons from the tragedy to avoid further death and destruction.

Stop being Taliban apologists

it is inhuman

Peshawar Attack Imran Khan

It’s high time that Taliban apologists in Pakistan – people who defend TTP terrorism as a reaction to America’s drone attacks – stopped being themselves.

Shooting innocent children at point-blank range cannot be – in any way – justified. Period.

A good example could be built by the cricketer-turned-politician Imran Khan, one of the country’s most prominent leaders, who has shamelessly flirted with the Taliban in the past, going as far as to calling them his “brothers.”

After Tuesday’s incident, no one with a shred of conscience would (and should) even hint at trying to rationalize what happened – ever.

End the “good Taliban/bad Taliban” debate

… it shouldn’t have started in the first place

Many in Pakistan, both among government and the masses, try to distinguish between militants fighting – or to be precise, killing – in the name of Islam. Needless to say, this utterly illogical classification of terrorists has to come to an end.

A murderer at the end of the day is a murderer and murderers are not nice people.

Pakistan’s National Security Advisor to the Prime Minister (and unaware TTP apologist), Sartaj Aziz, openly supported the country’s “good Taliban, bad Taliban” policy last month.

"Why should America's enemies unnecessarily become our enemies?” he asked naively in an interview with the BBC’s Urdu service. “When the United States attacked Afghanistan, all those that were trained and armed by us together were pushed towards Pakistan. Some of them were dangerous for us and some were not. Why must we make enemies out of them all?"

Hopefully, he must’ve got his answer this week and if, god forbid, he’s still pondering over the question then it’s hopeless explaining anything to him or people like him.

End the pointless political protests

… it’s a mockery of sorts

Peshawar School Attack

The tragedy in Peshawar occurred at a time when Pakistan was already embroiled in political discord between the country’s ruling government and its biggest opposition led by Imran Khan.

While it’s a fundamental right of the people to protest against any corruption, it’s a well-known fact in Pakistan that the demonstrations held by Khan and his supporters have become more of a political joke.

He neither knows nor wants to respect the constitution. What he does know is that he was wronged during the 2013 general election and he wants Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to step down.

What’s even more frustrating is the fact that after months of holding sit-ins, Khan is still not sure what he plans to do next – especially when the government is showing absolutely no signs of compromise.

Time has come for these political theatrics to stop in Pakistan because if this incident doesn’t make the leaders reconsider their priorities, then nothing ever will.

Read More: There Are Only Two Possible Outcomes Of Pakistan’s Anti-Government Protests

As well as negotiations with terrorists

… they can’t be reasoned with

As if it wasn’t already obvious, this ruthless killing of children further proves that there can never be “peaceful talks” with terrorists, ever, and the reason is quite simple: they are murderers who kill whenever and whoever they deem against them – and that pretty much includes everyone in the world who is human and compassionate.

In February between the Pakistani government and Taliban insurgents broke down after 23 paramilitary soldiers were killed by the TTP, in what they said was revenge for army operations in the volatile tribal regions. And this was just one instance out of the many other times when they refused to sit down with politicians on the table and sent the message by taking innocent lives.

It’s almost as if the TTP have been shouting to tell us they are not interested and Pakistani officials keep on living in denial, convincing themselves by saying, “They’ll come around. There’s no need to worry.”

It’s time to wake up and get out of this abusive relationship before they beat us to death.

Bring about meaningful legislative changes

… hasty measures can be ineffective

One day into the attack, Sharif approved the removal of moratorium on death penalty which was imposed under international pressure.

“The prime minister has abolished the moratorium on death penalty in terrorism-related cases,” a government spokesman said.

However, will this decision prove to be effective when a measly percentage of terrorists are convicted in courts, despite concrete evidence?

A report released in May 2014 titled “Anti Terror Laws, Policing and the Criminal Justice System: A Case Study of Anti Terrorist Efforts in Punjab” called for reform of the criminal justice system with its author, Rabia Chaudhry, stating there were extremely “low conviction rates” in terrorist cases.

 “Of the 1,015 cases pending with the ATC in 2013, only 506 were adjudicated upon – only 307 decisions leading to acquittals and another 136 resulting in convictions,” according to the findings of the study.

This essentially means that reforms are immediately needed in the way terrorism cases are handled in courts.

How can someone be sentenced to death when they are not even convicted of terrorism?

Stop giving these murderers coverage

…they do not deserve it

Last but not the least; it’s important that these terrorists do not get what they are willing to kill for i.e. media coverage. The more we pay attention to their “cause” and broadcast it for the world to see, the more we glamorize them.

We need not to explain how carefully “selective” they were when they shot those children. We need not to discuss the “why” part of terrorism because technically it doesn’t exist.

Mass murderers thrive on fear and publicity.

Let’s take both of these things away from them and help confine terrorism. You can do your part by not posting anything on the Internet these cold-blooded creatures say to further their propaganda. Media channels can refrain from showing their pathetic faces on television. 

One has to start somewhere.

A report issued by the Global Coalition for the Protection of Education earlier this year noted that in the years between 2009 and 2012 there were 800 attacks on schools in Pakistan. If the country’s authorities and its people do not wish to see a similar or, god forbid, a worse report in 2016, then lessons have to be learnt and the time to start is now.