Stories about APS

When the gun is the law, how far are you willing to go to save your children?

Friday, May 18th. My 17-year-old says to me, “A 17-year-old Pakistani exchange student died in the Santa Fe school shooting. I saw it on social media.” These Are The Victims Of The #SantaFeHighSchoolShooting. Let us remember them:Sabika SheikhAnn PerkinsAngelique RamirezShana FisherKim VaughanChris StoneCynthia TisdaleChristian "Riley" GarciaJared Conard BlackKyle McLeod pic.twitter.com/8ceg889DP4 — Khary Penebaker (@kharyp) May 19, 2018 I immediately checked the headlines on leading newspapers from Pakistan, unreported at the time. It was a little after 4pm in the US. The first thought that crossed my mind was, do her parents know? What if they don’t? What if they find out from social media? Why did this have ...

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Married to an “alien”

The threat of extremism appeared on the horizon about a decade and a half ago, plunging Pakistan into a different kind of war. The Armed Forces, until then, had been concerned with tackling and keeping malicious forces in check at the borders, but now they had a new enemy much closer to home. Each bombing and suicide attack has caused us great pain and we have lost thousands to senseless chaos since then. December 16, 2014 seemed just like another nightmare, but this incident had the entire nation in unparalleled shock. I remember the disbelief as I heard reports of terrorist ...

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Malala vs APS survivors: Do our children have to compete to be our heroes?

It was in 2014 – while I was studying for my Masters in Europe – that a German classmate of mine, upon getting to know I am from Pakistan, showed me a picture of Malala Yousafzai receiving the Nobel Peace Prize. I can recall chatter in the classroom of European students about Malala’s bravery, and the hardships she faced as she pursued an education in Pakistan. This was one of the rare moments of my life when I took great pride in belonging to the same country as Malala, and for all the activism that I do, including this very piece, I believe ...

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When the martyred children of APS woke this nation up from its dead slumber

Tragedies unite nations, a lot more so than celebrations. Tragedies dissolve differences that divide us as we are emotionally forced to focus on one event rather than on each other. For the citizens of Pakistan, the Army Public School (APS) massacre of December 16, 2014 was that defining tragedy. As a nation, we had become numb or I dare say apathetic, to the killings of our fellow Pakistanis as long as we were not related to them. The extensive target killing of minorities in Pakistan hardly brought a noticeable moment of sorrow for most. APS changed all that. The images ...

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Can we please talk about Quetta?

Can we talk about Quetta? They called Quetta the fruit garden of Pakistan, once. You read about it in your social studies class as the ninth-largest city in Pakistan; it was a capital, and capitals are revered. But no one ever talked about Quetta outside of textbooks. Monday night, October 24, 2016, cadets at a police training academy in Quetta awoke to a terrorist attack that killed 61, and injured more than 120. The dead bodies piled up, young men in the prime of their youth, young men that fall in the same age bracket as our brothers and sons, our husbands ...

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“Please tell the people of Karachi that the kabaili people are not wild animals”

At the beginning of the ride, the cab driver asked me for Rs150 for a journey halfway through Peshawar – Saddar to the ends of University Road. Sounds reasonable, I thought to myself. On the way, we struck up a conversation. By the end of the ride, he refused to take a paisa. “You are from Karachi. That means you are my guest.” He declared with a smile warm enough to melt stone. When I insisted, the rebuttal brought me to tears. “Aap ne izzat di; mohabbat di. Pakhtun ko aur kuch nahin chahyay.” (You gave me love and respect: that is all ...

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As a citizen of Pakistan, I am to blame for the death of Khurram Zaki

I lost my friend on Saturday night. He was sipping tea at a Chaikhana (tea shop) with two colleagues when four men on bikes showed up and showered them with bullets. He received five bullets in his upper body and was shifted to a hospital in critical condition before he was finally moved to the Agha Khan hospital for treatment. Khurram Zaki – the activist, the blogger, the progressive ideologue, the wall of perseverance against the rising tide of sectarian violence, a devoted father and a good friend – was martyred before the clock struck 12 am. One never really ...

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One month after the Bacha Khan University attack and we are still stuck in selective empathy

Just a year after the Army Public School attack which shook the entire country to its core, prompting collective declarations of #NeverAgain, we are staring into the abyss yet again. It has been one month since another educational institution, Bacha Khan University was brutally targeted and another 21 precious lives were extinguished. The state vows to bring the perpetrators to justice. Once again, our resilience is extolled as the nation’s highest virtue and we slowly begin to pick ourselves up one more time. We may soon recover; perhaps even find ourselves celebrating a successful military response to the enemy one day, signalling a brighter ...

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Our reliance on Maulvis has made religion a business

On December 16, 2015, the nation observed the first death anniversary of the APS attack victims. Right now, the country is reeling from the attack on Bacha Khan University. We have suffered multiple disastrous assaults, yet the government remains unconcerned. It still has not taken any concrete steps to implement the National Action Plan. Various measures had been taken to combat the likelihood of another attack. Security had been beefed up, children had been trained on how to react, school timings had been changed and special instructions were delivered. But these were interim and private measures. Has the government taken any long-term measures to address ...

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When the Pakistani media decided to exploit a painful tragedy like APS

It is difficult to imagine what it is like to be one of the parents of the 122 school kids brutally murdered during the Army Public School (APS) massacre in Peshawar. On the morning of December 16, 2014, these families said goodbye to their children as they left for school, and a few hours later, were shattered by the news that their loved one(s) had been mercilessly gunned down by Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) terrorists. I know of parents broken after losing their child to a terminal disease, and eventually found solace. The slow torture of witnessing a brave beloved helplessly battle such an illness is ...

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