To the Taliban, We are Pakistan and we will never forgive you
You can burn down our schools, tear the lives of families apart and ask minors to recite the kalma before you shoot them in the head. You can wage a war against humanity, impose a rule of tyranny and redefine oppression. Your guns can shoot, but their voices will never echo louder than the resolve of this nation.
Your flames will burn out, but a nation will still emerge from its ashes, even if it is battered, bruised and beaten. You will run out of lives to give, but there will always be a Pakistani ready to lay his or hers down for their homeland.
It is, without doubt, the epitome of cowardice to target the most innocent creatures of all, children going to school. Yesterday, you took away from us our next generation. We have nothing left, but a will higher than ever before to not let you break us. We will not forget December 16, and we will not forget the 130 plus. You may attack our schools, but for every attack you plan and execute, there will be hundreds of thousands of students out there to lead vigils, burn candles, pray for the deceased and strive to bring you down. We will not forgive. We are, by no means, a nation of quitters, we will not let go. We have never been afraid of sacrifices, and we do not forget those you have taken away from us. Every day as you impose your tyranny on us, our resolve to fight you only grows.
It is with deep discomfort that I realise I have but words to answer you. Your insecurities are shown by the fact that books and pens frighten you. You can shoot down Malala, martyr Aitzaz and end the life of over 130 children in Peshawar. But the Malala’s and Aitzaz’s of this country will never stop emerging and they will never be forgotten. For every life you take, you create even more mortal enemies. Your apologists in our mainstream media and politics fail you, for they can no longer hide you behind a faceless mask that hides and protects your identity. This nation of millions is out to get you, your kind and your ideology. It will not stop nor will it take rest until the very roots of the menace like yourselves are exterminated from this country.
Whether it be the Karachi Airport, the Wagha border or the Army Public School, we will not lock ourselves up in our homes and give in to your attempts at frightening us. We will show up again, the next day, with the same commitment and greater resolve. This nation of millions has endured a lifetime of sacrifices; we are no strangers to losing our loved ones for causes greater than ourselves. And by God, this cause is greater than we will ever be. You threaten our way of life, our religion and our ideology. You threaten an entire civilisation and all the future of generations to come. You plan to impose on us an extremist ideology that would put to waste the sacrifices we have made over hundreds of years, we will not let that happen.
My heart bleeds for the children that will not make their way home again. It bleeds for the mothers who forced their children to go to school despite their insistence to take a day off. It bleeds for the families who will never be whole again. It bleeds for the friends who will never meet again. It bleeds for the children who will never be able to go to school without looking over their shoulder. It bleeds for the children who will not forget the sounds of what happened in Peshawar yesterday. It bleeds for the children who witnessed bloodshed and violence that will affect them for the rest of their lives. But it finds solace, in the millions that came together to condemn you as one. It finds rest, in the hope that there will be a tomorrow without you. It finds pride in the children who will continue to go to school.
Books will always be mightier than your guns. They will always have an impact more lasting, resounding and great than your weapons can ever have. Every child with a book and a pen will learn to abhor you. Every parent who sends their kid to school would have done their duty for their nation. We’re not a nation which stands down this easily. We’re a nation built on resolve, commitment and a sense of duty.
We are a nation built on the foundations of Unity, Faith and Discipline – and these ideals will be greater tomorrow than ever before.
We are Pakistan.
The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.