Remembering the APS victims: What We Still Haven’t Learned After 3 Years
16th December, a day in the history of Pakistan that will never be forgotten it was a day when our nation witnessed the fall of Dhaka. But in 2014 this day became the darkest day of our lives. It was a day like any other until it was painted red by the blood of our children. Six terrorists attacked the Army Public School (APS) in Peshawar and martyred 141 people including 132 school children in cold blood. 16th December became the day when many mothers sent their children to school for the last time. As a nation, we have given many sacrifices in this war on terror but the sacrifice that was unwillingly taken from us on 16th December 2014 is the one that hurts the most.
Extremist thinking has caused unimaginable damage to our country; Lack of tolerance has become a part of our lifestyle. We do not know what it is like to be patient. From fighting in the traffic over petty things to making legislation that favors extremist thinking, we have become hostages to the kind of mindset that lost us half our country and took away our kids.
The APS attack shook us as a nation. Every single human being was traumatized by the incident. But feeling all that pain is not going to change anything if we do nothing against the kind of thinking that, if allowed, will continue to wreak havoc in our country.
The amount of progress a country makes will amount to nothing if its citizens are not united against the elements that want to spread hatred. Extremism survives because we do nothing to stop it at the grass root level. We do not stop anyone making hate speech. We isolate communities. We let people divide us for their political gain. All of that has to stop.
As we remember our brave children and teachers today, we must resolve to turn this pain into a promise. Promise that we will not let the blood of our children go to waste. Promise that we will exterminate the extremist mindset and make the future of this country bright and secure for our children.