Stories about Peshawar school attack

The media didn’t fail on January 8, you did, Pakistan!

Chaos, screams, gunshots, children running from one end of the camera to another, mothers wailing in the background, mortifying reports, death tolls, debates, condemnations, shock, horror and terror – this was Pakistani media on December 16, 2014. Our minds couldn’t fathom, let alone comprehend what we all heard and saw that day. Our very souls quivered with absolute fear, remorse and anger. That was the day a small army of terrorists entered the Army Public School in Peshawar, opened fire on innocent students and teachers, forever scarring our ‘pure’ land with blood. Pause. No, not ‘forever’. Pakistan doesn’t remember anything ‘forever’. Fast forward. No wait, not ...

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What in the world is ‘Love Jihad’, India?

A few days ago, whilst looking for a flat in Delhi, I approached a broker. With a pleasant smile on his face, the 27-year-old real estate agent ushered me into his two-room office. After I explained my requirements he asked me my name in a serious vein, as though everything depended on my reply. “Sapan Kapoor,” I said. “This is good.” “But what is in a name?” I asked. He paused for a moment and then said laconically, “Hum Muhammadans ko ghar nahi dete hein.” (We do not rent out to followers of Muhammad (pbuh)) When I enquired about the reason behind this discrimination against a particular community, he refused to elaborate. ...

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The filth of humanity unvieled: Raping and murdering a 5-year-old boy

The terrorists who attacked and massacred children in Peshawar, murderers who end lives all around the world, or States that wage wars on the innocent, are not the worst. For me, even the most vicious of murders is surpassed, in brutality and inhumanity, by rape. The act of sexually assaulting or abusing another human being is way worse than taking a life. Both acts – of rape and murder – coupled together give us a glimpse of humanity at its worst. And both acts coupled against a child, is rock bottom. A five-year-old boy was raped, murdered and hanged in my city. The awareness ...

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An apology is not enough, Aamir Liaquat must be fired

Social media is once again flooded with outrage at ‘Dr’ Aamir Liaquat – our nation’s foremost televangelist. During an episode of his morning show Subh-e-Pakistan, aired on Geo TV on December 22, one of Liaquat’s guests, Syed Arif Shah Owaisi, used inflammatory language to accuse the Ahmadi community of being responsible for terrorism in the country including the Peshawar attack. To no one’s surprise, Liaquat applauded the cleric’s hate speech. On December 27, an Ahmadi was shot dead in Gujranwala. Such a sequence of events is not new to Liaquat’s television career. In September 2008, he promoted similar hate speech on his Geo TV show which was ...

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Help your child deal with the trauma of #PeshawarSchoolAttack

What started as a usual day for many school-going children – with the routine hustle bustle of school life, class work, worries about upcoming exams, excitement about the winter holidays and carefree play and discussion with friends – sadly turned into a series of incomprehensible and barbaric acts of terrorism with chaos, injury and death all around. When we, as adults, are still grappling with how and why someone would take young and innocent lives, the shock, insecurity and trauma the children will be experiencing may be manifold. The acts of terrorism are random, beyond comprehension, a deliberate attempt to harm and leave both ...

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Will 2015 spare our children from the violence of 2014?

Thousands of miles away, in a candle vigil for the children of the Peshawar attack, the Mayor of Mississauga, Ontario, Canada, Bonnie Crombie said, “The children lost in Peshawar were not just Pakistani kids; they were our children, the children of this planet.” I shuddered to imagine the paranoia of millions of parents in Pakistan on the day that their children will have to go back to school after winter break. And along with them, my mind wandered to the other children on the planet – the children who have lost their lives and so much more. I couldn’t help but think of ...

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The cyclical nature of the War on Terror

Acts of ‘terror’ have been permeating through our televisions screens and newspapers in the West to the extent that we now seem to be surrounded by them. The ‘war on terror’ makes ‘us’ in the West feel safe, but what is almost never considered is how ‘our’ safety affects the lives of the ‘others’ we aim to destroy. In the wake of the horrific Peshawar school attack that killed 141 people, many of whom were children, the international community rallied against the attackers. What remained unexplored were the factors that led to the attack to begin with. What were the motivations ...

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There is nothing wrong in wishing someone a Merry Christmas

Pakistan saw its darkest hour when innocent kids were brutally massacred in Peshawar by terrorists last week. As every single Pakistani was in mourning, the whole world beyond borders and beliefs stood by us. Thousands of miles away here in Canada, Peel District School Board lowered its flag to half-mast for a whole week. In India, every school observed two minutes silence and Twitter trended #IndiaWithPakistan. The Christian community in Karachi sang prayers for the children of Peshawar. I hear now that the Christian community in Pakistan has decided not to celebrate Christmas this year. When I heard about this, it took me down memory lane, ...

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Imran Khan: Always a crowd pleaser

It was September 22nd of last year; one of the blackest days in the history of Pakistan. It was a day when the Taliban targeted a church in Peshawar with a pair of suicide bombers who ripped through a congregation 500 strong. The savage destruction that followed resulted in the death of over 78 Pakistanis with nearly 150 wounded. It was an act of terror in every sense of the word, and casualties included both women and children. We watched in horror on our television screens as tragic images of injured Pakistani worshipers flooded news channels. At first glance the aftermath resembled a butcher shop, ...

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Reinstate the moratorium on the death penalty!

As a legal and human rights defenders’ community, we should condemn the Peshawar attack and express solidarity with the victims. However, lifting the moratorium and executing prisoners on death row will not eliminate the threat of terrorism and militancy or make us safer. It will be another step towards eradicating the constitutional rights of ordinary citizens.  Shafqat Hussain’s case has nothing to do with terrorism and seems more like a public relations gesture to appease public outrage at the heinous and barbaric attack of December 16th. As Reprieve points out, Hussain is of poor background, and was 14-years-old at the time of the offence. ...

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