Reflections on the Peshawar massacre

Reflections on the Peshawar massacre

The policy of using proxies has produced the Peshawar massacre. It has failed miserably. Pakistan will continue to remain a nation at war and will decline into further chaos and bloodshed if we don’t correct the course and commit to eradicating not just the terror challenge but the last terrorist.

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By Nasir Chaudhry

“Mr Minister, very soon, these very Taliban will become your proverbial blanket, you would like to remove the blanket but you would not be able to do so.” the Italian Ambassador to Pakistan said to Sartaj Aziz, then foreign minister, at a tense meeting in Islamabad’s foreign office, as told to me by an ex career diplomat who was taking minutes. The ambassador was furious over the cold blooded murder of Italian humanitarian workers in Afghanistan and Pakistan’s failure to intervene. Mr Aziz’s response was muted but leaving the meeting, he told the diplomat politely, “don’t add the last bit in the minutes.”

For a start, the whole country rejoiced to Honey Singh and booze that flowed freely over the New Year rather than remember Peshawar. We might well be, justifiably, the chosen one’s for a damning indictment by history. The Peshawar massacre will forever remain one of the most despicable acts in human history. There really are no words to describe it. It made the world shudder, grief stricken and shed tears. Faith in humanity vaporised but restored as the world united in pain and remembrance. Cast, creed, beliefs and in the case of India and Pakistan, a bitter (foolish) enmity, set aside for the victims. I did shout it on the face of many that the Kafirs, Hindus and Yahudis were at the forefront of condemnation instead of brothers from the Ummah. But amidst the death, blood and feebleness of those young innocent victims, which numbs the mind and senses when it comes to imagination, the sobbing of parents, Pakistan and Pakistanis must introspect. Now is the time, this very moment.

We are all not responsible for Peshawar. A majority of us are and being in majority they must now have the courage to accept their folly and utter foolishness over pursuing policies that led to the killing of our children. First, the security establishment, which must now man up and take this dark chapter in their stride with the same enthusiasm that has been shown to generations for a manufactured ideology of Pan Islamism and Muslim renaissance with Pakistan acting as its citadel. They did not budge after losing 60,000 Pakistanis and countless more impaired for life, they did not budge after losing billions of dollars to the economy, they did not budge when they bombed places of worship, they did not budge when the shrines of our saints and sages were bombed, they did not budge when they played football with the heads of their own but they relented and only gave in after a tragedy that has no parlance in modern history. They had too. But this could have been averted had all those ghastly crimes mentioned above were taken as serious indicators of what was coming. The snakes that Pakistan’s security establishment has well fed over decades are out in the open. As you sow, so shall you reap.

Second; to the mullah, mosque and madrassas. Pakistan’s most ill-informed and virulent do not need airtime. Their weapon is more potent and lethal. The loudspeaker is deliberately abused to nauseating sermons that spill hatred and venom, nothing remotely Islam, that noble religion. Everything western is haram (barring the very sound system that he is using), the Ummah is under siege, the destruction of Pakistan is central to the evil conspiracies of the Yahood o Hanood, family planning, jeans, underwear and even the toilet flush inventions of the west that are a bare attempt at rendering the martial Muslim impotent. Why then do Amil Bengali Babas thrive the most in our countryside and a more lucrative market in the west has eluded them? The confederacy of the mullah, mosque andmaddrassa (a majority) breed on the illiteracy and abject poverty that stalks our villages and towns and wins more recruits with the promise of the virgins of heaven. They are responsible for Peshawar too.

Third; our politicians, a commodity fast dwindling like many fine things in the country. Nawabzada Nasrullah, Nawab Akbar Bugti, Ajmal Khattak, Wali Khan on the one side to those who have come to replace them, lesser mortals surely. Waxing sonnets of civilian supremacy, democratic transfer of power, omnipotence of the parliament lend themselves to a sad melody with Musharraf’s trail, a rap on the knuckles for the Indian and Afghan policies and finally the establishment of military courts. The PPP may have sunk to new lows, beating their own abysmal governance records but credit where due, they have challenged the Taliban, as have the ANP and MQM. Both PML-N and PTI have been instrumental until recently to break away from the ‘talk to them first mode.’ PML-N in particular has looked the other way as militancy has gained foothold in Punjab while PTI failed to communicate the essence of its peace message and added confusion to the issue by messing up drones, high value targets with sovereignty, the nation’s ghairat and Iqbal’s poetry.

The silver lining has been the judiciary. For much of the flak that it has received, to me, is unjustified. Pakistan has the highest number of convicts on death row, they are where they are because of some brave people who have had the courage to take them on and discharge their duties with honesty. It was not for the judges to decide if there should be a moratorium on hangings but for the government. The judges did their job, the politicians did not.

The policy of using proxies has produced the Peshawar massacre. It has failed miserably. Pakistan will continue to remain a nation at war and will decline into further chaos and bloodshed if we don’t correct the course and commit to eradicating not just the terror challenge but the last terrorist. No terrorist is good or bad, they are all bad. They must be held accountable for their crimes.

Let the promise of my country be not the Jaishes and Lashkars but its enterprising, dynamic, bright young people who form the majority of the population and hold great potential. Not only are they poised too but will be the catalyst for change. For that day to arrive, they and their dreams must be allowed to live.

PS – Raheel Sharif is all but the Chief Executive. Minus Barack Obama, he met everyone who matters in the US. John Kerry met him on a national holiday and visited the GHQ on the sidelines of the strategic dialogue. The same holds true on his present visit to the UK. An unprecedented visit to 10 Downing Street in uniform laying bare western ‘sensitivities’ about democracy and it’s orphan counterpart in Pakistan. Should Prime Minister Sharif continue in office? Is he really in charge? The west knows who to deal with and the ‘guy who’s in charge.’ Another moment of truth! But let’s hope Gen Sharif means what he says and take him on his word.

Nasir Chaudhry is a freelance columnist and political analyst based in Islamabad, Pakistan. He works in the oil and gas sector and can be reached at

This article was originally published by Pakistan Today and is available by clicking here.

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