I am not writing this to commiserate with the families of the victims of the recent attack or to condemn the mind-set which was behind this and innumerable other terrorist activities. I choose not to do so simply because I know, no matter what I write to describe the enormity of the incident, it would never suffice. So I have decided to retell a story instead.
It all began with an insightful idea which soon turned into an unyielding desire, which then turned into an irrepressible obsession, which sequentially turned into an undeniable reality. Today we call it Pakistan. We may have not been there to testify to it but this land was a witness to every single act of heroism and barbarism which made our conviction in unity stronger than ever. We grew up listening to tales of unutterable valour displayed by our ancestors to protect their dream of living a life that endorsed freedom and individuality. They were fettered, tortured, massacred but not defeated. Today’s circumstances are substantively analogous to our history.
We see bloodshed and dejection everywhere yet we refuse to give in to fanaticism and it should continue in this way. If yesterday our forefathers waged war to create this nation, then today we would have to continue fighting it to defend our nation. It is unfortunate that our nemeses are not as audacious and chronically try to shroud their vulnerability with ignominious acts like the Peshawar attack. They may become successful in making our grounds flood with our blood but in no way can they lower our morale. Let all our adversaries know that they can maltreat us under the pretence of revenge; kill us in the name of God however a nation whose creation changed the course of history forever, cannot be crushed by a handful of deluded brutes.
The children and the staff members who were assassinated are our martyrs, our heroes. It is high time we stop numbering our martyrs and start honouring them instead. To honour them, we must make sure that we do not let them down. There is no point in mourning them today if we refuse to do something for them that can be celebrated in the coming years. Creating this country was a struggle and helping it evolve is a challenge. What happened in Peshawar that day, beggars description but amidst everything we do not have to forget that we have to take forward our legacy of struggle and sacrifice. Perhaps every Pakistani is born with it. This is the time we realise that nothing can be worse than giving up on our dream of a better and stable Pakistan. I dread that time more than anything. Our diligence would open new doors of hope and certitude to all those who have almost lost faith in justice and integrity. We shall make them realise that humanity is not dead; it is just being led to a more pronounced existence. I would like to conclude with a few verses from one of my favourite poems by Sahir Ludhianvi which I believe befit our situation more than ever.
That morning will come sometime
That morning will come sometime
After all these dark ages
When the shadow of night will pass
When the clouds of sadness will melt
The morning for which since many eras
We all have been sacrificing
On these hungry and thirsty souls
That morning will shine one day
When for its wrongdoings the world would be embarrassed
When the ones who demand this vision will not be sacrificed
That morning we will bring
Such morning can come only with our efforts.