I know each of us is angry, stunned, speechless and horrified at Peshawar attack. I also know that it has woken up our collective conscience, broken our hearts but also united us like never before to fight this scourge of militancy. But emotional exhortations alone are not enough to prompt change unless accompanied by effective action.
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In past few years, we have seen that when middle class is dissatisfied with things and become active, it can successfully reshape the mainstream politics of the country (Imran Khan’s popularity is a case in point). So unless, we start showing our dissatisfaction with the way counter-terrorism policy is shaped in this country; changing DP’s, outrage on social media and going to vigils might not change anything. After, all this is not the first time many innocent Pakistanis have been killed. So, here are four requests to every friend:
1) The reason why we are in such a pain today is because of flawed policies of our military and government. Every terrorist hitting us today used to be our Hafiz Saeed and Maulana Abdul Aziz of yesterday. There is no sacred institution; no one should be above criticism. The military has pursued wrong policies and unless we criticize those, things won’t change. So let’s actively scrutinize and push our civilians and military to change counter terrorism policy. Terminate the distinction between good and bad Taliban, and get rid of them all so that some of these groups don’t become a liability for us tomorrow.
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2) Let’s pledge that next time we if we come across any cleric or politician who tries to justify what these animals (Taliban) are doing or have done to innocent Pakistanis, we will not tolerate. If we can come out and mobilize against corruption, we can do that against these apologists too. They along with TTP are an existential threat to us.
3) Let’s take a responsibility to ensure that no madrassa in our surrounding/area teaches our kids the wrong interpretation of our religion, brainwash them for militancy or flourish hate speech. However, let’s also be mindful that not every madrassa in Pakistan produce militants. Dr. Tahir ul Qadri and Tahir Ashrafi is a case in point. But we must reclaim our mosques which have become safe haven for terrorists like Lal Masjid (Red Mosque).
4) Many political parties in Pakistan have an alliance with sectarian militants. Let’s pledge that we will not forget 100s of Hazaras, Christians, Shias and Ahmedis who have been massacred by these sectarian militant outfits but continue to enjoy impunity. We must question and force which ever political party we support, to undo their alliance with sectarian militants.
It’s time that each of us start embracing responsibility to push for decisive changes in our counter terrorism strategy because we are already too late or else the lives of 142 innocent children will become one like any other episode of terrorist attacks in Pakistan.
Author Info: A graduate from LUMS, who is currently a DAAD scholar 2014 for Masters in Public Policy and Good Governance in Germany. He blogs at (everythingpakistani.blogspot.