Humanity dies as Peshawar bleeds

Published: December 16, 2014

A soldier escorts school children after they were rescued from the Army Public School. PHOTO: REUTERS

A soldier escorts school children after they were rescued from the Army Public School. PHOTO: REUTERS School children cross a road as they move away from the school that has been under attack. PHOTO: REUTERS

This morning, as I opened my social media newsfeed, I was left completely mortified. At around 11.45 am, news about five to six militants who had carried out an attack at the Army Public School (APS) in Peshawar was all over my newsfeed.

Alarm bells started going off in my head.

I have friends whose children go to that school.

Immediately, I thought of ringing them up. But then I stopped. A thousand thoughts went through my head in those few seconds – what if they didn’t know about the attack just yet? Would I be causing panic? What if I clog up the phone lines and someone else has something more important about their kids to tell them? Would I want my friends calling me at that point? It wasn’t until I opened my TV to see the harrowing images of injured children being carried to hospitals and, unable to hold myself back any longer, I finally called one of my friends. She, a mother of two children who go to the same school, was quivering as she wept asking me to pray for her children. I didn’t have the courage to call anyone else after I shut her phone.

By 12:10pm, Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) claimed responsibility for the attack. The Express Tribune received the following statement from Omar Khorasani, a spokesperson of TTP,

“Our people successfully entered the Army school in Peshawar this morning. We are giving them direct instructions to not harm minors”. He added, “Operation Zarb-e-Azb and Operation Khyber–I forced us to take such an extreme step.”

More information from other news agencies reported that the TTP said that they are still able to carry out major attacks and this was just a trailer. TTP also warned the army to stop releasing statements which comprised of fabricated number of militants killed when the actual number according to the TTP is far less. Then, the TTP spokesperson added that they are targeting only older students, ‘sparing’ the younger ones.

The older students at APS are between the ages of 10 to 16-years-old. One of the injured children who were being interviewed by ARY said that the militants initially selected the students and then pulled another out to shoot their own classmate.

Can anyone imagine the scar that has been left on this child? Pulling out students to shoot them? What sort of barbarianism is this? Which religion permits such brutality?

By 1.30pm, Nawaz Sharif including other party heads had condemned the attack. A state of emergency was declared in surrounding hospitals. The security at the hospitals was reportedly beefed up.

What comes as complete surprise to me was the irresponsibility shown by people, not only on social media but also by the news reports that poured in the figures of causalities as though they were mere numbers and not children. Without confirmed reports, information was being thrown across social platforms and news channels without any accountability. These children, who were under attack this morning, all belong to some family that was reading your tweets, your Facebook statuses and watching the news helplessly all the while praying that the child you were talking about was not their son or daughter.

The news beats on TV made me sad, yet angry. While the injuries of the children who had made it to the hospital were being looked after, reporters were stuffing their microphones in their faces, asking unending questions from INJURED CHILDREN. Injured children who just underwent the most traumatic experience of their lives. Children who did not think they would walk out that school building alive. Children who were scared for their lives. Children. Just children.

Where were our media ethics?

What if it was one of your own children soaked in blood that you just happened to glimpse on the TV screen?

Over 100 children were killed in Peshawar this morning. Today, as history marks the Fall of Dhaka, our present marks the end of humanity. We live in a world where animals are better than humans. A world where innocent children are killed mercilessly. Today is one of the most unspeakable and surely the darkest days in our history, in the history of mankind. Today we stooped as low as to kill helpless innocent children.

That child could have been mine. With an exceedingly heavy heart and a throat choked up on tears, I extend my condolences to all those people who lost their loved ones, their children in this incident today. And for all those who support the Taliban and are their apologists, God damn you to the deepest pits of hell. Leave us alone! Leave our children alone! Don’t for a moment think that only Peshawar bleeds today, because on this atrocious day, Pakistan bleeds. On this day, humanity bleeds.

Zara Hafeez

Zara Hafeez

A digital marketer, writer, a history buff, volunteer for humanitarian causes for The James Caan Foundation, UNICEF Promise for Children, among others and a tea-aholic. She tweets as @zara_hafeez (

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • Anoop

    So Taliban who consider themselves Muslim are Muslims? If so, then yes, communists who consider themselves Scientific are indeed scientific


    Waiting for your brilliant answer!Recommend

  • Tellerr

    forget the mullah, there were kids who died in there. and the students who were removed , their parents never found out where their kids went. i dont care for what thacleric is doing seeing as pakistani govt acquitted him. he is going scot free , if he was involved why was he left of the hook? with pakistani nation and its tribal areas , and govt idiocies like this, we are only radicalising them further. you want to end the mayhem or bring it out further to achieve more aid dollars , like mushy did. kids are just kids, this is preposterous that because you have let talib maulvi run a masjid in capital then you feel its alright to punish those who end up in his masjid. please read up on parents who sat outside parliament. its not talib vs non talib issue. as kids are all innocent and need to be protected ,one.Recommend

  • Tellerr

    lol i talking about the commentator here who is trying to keep his faith in islam regardless of taliban’s horrific actions in its name. how can you be so obtuse?Recommend

  • Prashant

    “India is known as an investment destination, not a Terror epicenter of the world.”

    Is not that true? The glasses of our house had been broken a long time back and despite that we have not yet resorted to stone pelting.Recommend

  • Prashant

    “….simply that you refrain from branding our religion and all of its followers as inherently violent and claim that the militant interpretation and not our own is right.”

    When did I blame your religion, I am not an expert of Islam and neither do I want to be just like many other non Muslims.

    For a lay man, it is the acts of a community which is going to be a reflection of their religion, the Muslims who kill innocents and justify it by quoting the verses from Quran are the ones who make the headlines while the rest of the community is seen protesting America, Israel, India and also condemning Malala’s and Abdus Salam’s and the best you have to say to describe Taliban as non Muslims while having the Quetta Shura and the Hakkani Network in either Pakistani safe houses or safe zones. How would the world believe that a common Pakistani is against the ideology of Taliban despite the fact that you are selectively fighting against them.

    You do not fight a dangerous ideology practiced by people from your own community by claiming they are non Muslims/ Hindus… as soon as they make the news for wrong reasons, this makes people across the world feel either you are silent supporters of this ideology or mute spectators.

    It’s your call whether you want to accept them as terrorists from your own community or just blame the media for calling them who they are.Recommend

  • awais orakzai

    what are India doing in Afghanistan against Pakistan .who is mola fazal.raw agent .pakistan army know every things .india kill 132 children in peshawar .now pakistan should be attack india .Recommend

  • Hamid

    Every religion has violence. Islam also has people like the Sufis and Edhi. Why did the Christians conduct Crusades after Jesus’s death? Why did Hindu’s slaughter Muslims at partition? Why are Buddhists persecuting Muslims in Burma? Atheist Communist persecuted religious people too.

    Came to India in different waves. Some came after Sikander’s conquest of Persia or the Parthian invasion, or are you saying that Sikander was a Muslim?Recommend

  • Roon

    They are Muslims and Scientific in name only, that’s exactly my point. Where in the world do you think you have trapped me?

    “considered themselves scientific” I have said no?:)
    similarly terrorists “consider themselves Muslims” but go against its basic tenants.Recommend

  • siesmann

    How logical??!!!Would you believe they could not be bribed into bestiality.And standing against Soviets was not a choice for Pakistan,but a matter of survival.It was next on the list for Soviets.Recommend

  • siesmann

    I hope you mean what you say now.Good and innocent will always retain faith even when faithless people incite them from minbars,and in madrassas.Violence and supporting violence cant be considered faith.Recommend

  • Hamid

    “they could not be bribed into bestiality”
    Sorry, but I don’t understand what you mean?

    I’m saying that Muslim extremists are causing problems in the world because they were armed to fight against the Soviets and then not demilitarized/radicalized. It was these extremists who later festered in the Pak/Afg region and caused 9/11 and other terror attacks. I agree that Pak had little options but to arm Afghans.

    If other religions have similar experiences they would probably respond similarly. We saw at partition at how Hindus/Muslims/Sikhs all commited massacres regardless of religion.Recommend

  • siesmann

    right;but what I mean is that Muslims why Muslims are for sale to commit atrocities for others,whereas other religions are not.I hope it comes out its violent phase as others have doneRecommend

  • Tellerr

    i said it then. stop considering yourself a mund reader and humanity watchdog. its sounds so pompousRecommend

  • Anoop

    The basic tenets of Islam is a debatable ,highly subjective topic. But, Science is not. It doesn’t matter whether you believe in Evolution or Gravity, they are hard facts. What you consider basic tenets is not according to some interpretations.

    There are no different schools of Science, but there are various schools of Islam.

    Science only debates hypothesis, questions it, tries to prove it. While Religion will spread fiction as ultimate truth. There is no questioning, no probing, no self doubt, only absolute belief in something which can never be proven.

    Please do compare Apples with Apples. What you consider basic tenets might be right for you, but wrong for many..Recommend

  • Real Truth

    “To its critics India is known as the rape capital of the world and a land without toilets.”
    Is this also not true?Recommend

  • Roon

    “Evolution or Gravity, they are hard facts”

    Science can change with time however. 50 or so years ago it was “scientific” to consider Africans and Women as inferior to Western men and this was even used as a justification for colonization. Even today many racists actually consider themselves scientific. Things become problematic when science is brought into the political sphere and questions like the value of human life arise.

    In the past many scientists were also religious people such as Isaac Newton and Gergor Mendel. There were many Muslim scientists too who laid the foundation of the modern scientific method.

    My point is:
    Believing in religion does not dull your scientific prowess or make you a better human.

    Not believing in religion does not enhance your scientific prowess or make you a better human.
    (the opposite also holds true)

    Why then you ask us to abandon our past.
    We can be rational while believing in science, Islam, TNT, etc,etc.Recommend

  • Prashant

    “To its critics India is known as the rape capital of the world and a land without toilets.”

    I think I have already responded to that. If I have to call Pakistan the polio capital, that would be making fun of those who are suffering and hence I would not do that. When you have nothing good to match whom you are in a argument with, you hit below the belt but you need to realise that you have a dark underbelly too.Recommend

  • Abdullah

    [read this if you are muslim if not then just ignore.] , you are so anti Islamic. Madrassas never taught this terrorism. All scholars from around the world have released their comments. But you still consider them terrorists. This shows condition of your deep rooted hate for Practicing Muslims. By the way, can you name any scholar who sits on MIMBAR supporting it? If any one supports, then surely he is not a scholar. TTP, RAW and other enemies used the name of jihad and tried to defame Islam and Jihad. Do you know who gave them permission to do this? It is you and your liberal mates!! They know that liberal and secular minded people will help them in defaming Islam in this way, thats why they used this strategy…..Recommend

  • Abdullah

    This is the game started by our very own gen Perwaiz Musharraf and co. It is just like chickens coming home to roost.
    May Allah save all Pakistanis and all the Muslims from this cancer.Recommend

  • Maximus Decimus Meridius

    Maulana Munawwar Hassan supports it , he is on record saying that Taliban are doing jihad fi Sabil ILLAH
    The Burqa Mullah of Lal masjid supports it. Even now he condemns the attack on children but does not condemn the TTP
    The Raiwind function this year supported this and ISIS
    how many more do you want?Recommend

  • Abdullah

    “Only Science is the Truth.”
    This really force me to laugh. This statement proves your rationality. Things unexplained by science are not truth? Really funny.Recommend

  • Abdullah

    Raiwand never support this. Who told you this? If you have any proof then quote it.Please don’t make baseless arguments.
    Wifaqul madaris condemned TTP and all terrorist orgs. Your argument is baseless. There are about 22000 madaris registered with Wifaq-ul-madaris which is more than 80 percent of overall. This majority is condemning TTP, so stance of madaris is absolutely clear.

    Mufti Rafi Usmani, Mufti Zubair, Mufti Adnan Kakakhel sahb, Maulana Tariq Jameel Sahb, Mufti Abdul Wahab Sahb, and many more scholars from around the globe condemned TTP and Peshawar incidence. Now what more you want from them? They can’t come to you and tell you face by face that they condemned this incidence!! Maulana Arshad Madni from darululoom India has delivered clear fatwa regarding ISIS. Many other ulama have delivered their fatawa. So their stance is very obvious and the problem is in liberals who always try to defame our Scholars and Madaris.What Moulana Abdul Aziz said is his personal opinion and not the stance of our Madaris.Recommend

  • Maximus Decimus Meridius

    you can view my disqus profile. I have provided proof that RANA SNA ULLAH is on record saying that Raiwind has links to TTP and Al qaeeda. I took screengrabs and uploaded them here. view my comment history and you will find them.Recommend

  • Abdullah

    Lols. This is really funny. Salafis raise objection on tablighi jamaat that they are against Jihad (ma’azallah) and liberals say that Raiwand has links with TTP and Al Qaeeda. Man believe me these are just rumors. If you ain’t satisfied, then you can yourself go to Raiwand and spend sometime with our buzurgs and scholars their, every thing will be clear.Recommend

  • Abdullah

    I am not supporter of IK but I bet you, he never supported TTP. In tribal area, weapons ain’t used by TTP only, these tribes use weapons as their culture. He was speaking for those tribal who were not part of TTP. Thats why he used the term good taliban and bad taliban. I don’t know the truth behind, but this is what I think he was speaking about.Recommend

  • Maximus Decimus Meridius

    Well you asked me to show you the proof, I showed you the statement of Rana Sana Ullah , who was the minister at that time when he made the said statement. So the official statement is that they are in cahoots with TTP. Perhaps some statement from your buzurgs saying that they are against the TTP and ISIS or saying that they are against the Jihad by sword will clear this up.Recommend

  • Abdullah

    Not Jihad by sword, If Pak army is fighting against evil, it is also jihad by sword. If Palestinians are fighting for their survival, this is also Jihad by sword. We are not against Jihad that is according to the rulings of Quran and Hadith. And no Muslim can be a Muslim if he is against Jihad as it is the order of Allah in Quran. TTP and ISIS are using the name of Jihad but they ain’t doing Jihad.Recommend

  • Maximus Decimus Meridius

    ok good. Please give any video or statement of your buzurgs which condemns ISIS. I will be happy to edit my comments and remove the parts where Raiwind has been linked to Terror groups. I tried to find such testimony but could not. As you belong to the said group you have a lot more knowledge than me. So please share such condemnation of ISIS here.
    (Comments go through at least 8 hours after they are made so please wait 8 hours after writing your comment.and you will see my comment edited)Recommend

  • Abdullah

    TJ never delivers statements on any media regarding any issue. It has its own well defined Goals, and is busy day and night in its struggle. The views of TJ are the same as that of Darululoom Deoband in india and its branches. If you really want to know about their stand regarding ISIS, then you can leave the question on What they say is the view of TJ because TJ is its co-. Moulana Arshad Madani (sheikhul hadees at darululoom) has clearly said his views regarding ISIS in one of its talk. You can search it on google.Recommend

  • Maximus Decimus Meridius

    Tried to search for it but couldn’t find any video condemning ISIS. Please , Please be kind enough to spare 5 minutes of your time and post the video link here. I would really like to clear this upRecommend

  • Abdullah

    I can’t find the video of that conference in which he mentioned this
    but here is the link that describes the summary of his speech:
    I hope that mods will allow this.Recommend