Gulalai Ismail, our partner in Pakistan, comments on the recent school attack from a local perspective
16th December, 2014 is a black day for us. The terrorist organisation “Tehreel-e-Taliban Pakistan” attacked a private school killing 132 children and nine staff members, leaving thousands traumatized. It wasn’t just one school kept hostage by Taliban, the whole country has been kept hostage by the militants for more than a decade, more than 400 schools have been destroyed by the Taliban and thousands of innocent citizens have been killed.
We condemn Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan, the militant organization responsible for this massacre. We are aware that this massacre didn’t happen in a vacuum, it is result of the weak state policies towards the militancy and terrorism in Pakistan despite of huge national budget spending on military and defence.
Our children should no more become fodder or “collateral damage” of the war. We do not call for more violence and more war, we call for peace and justice. We call for addressing the root causes of terrorism and militancy in Pakistan. We call for changing the policies and state priorities so that terrorism can be curbed. There should be no space in Pakistan for militant groups, Taliban apologists, unregulated madrassas which promote militancy, or hate speech in the school curriculum.
It’s time to speak up against violence and terrorism, our silence will perpetuate more violence. We will continue to work with more commitment and strength for countering violent extremism in Pakistan. Lets stop glorifying violence and death in the name of national security, religion or nationalism. Violence and silence over violence can never be justified. Today, Peshawar counts among the top 10 most dangerous cities of the world, we ask governments, civil society and international community to collaborate for making it one of the safest.