Rising Above Terror

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December 16th, 2014, one of the darkest days in our country’s history. This is the story of unbelievable brutality that shook this nation to its very core; the unbelievable brutality that morphed into agony of a life time.As I write this, a painful nostalgia haunts me.Every time I stare at their innocent pictures, their warm smiles and the glittering eyes of those defenseless martyrs, it jolts me intensely. It has been a year, the images of terrified, bloodied children fleeing in their little green school sweaters haunt this nations collective consciousness, we owe to the 132 children and nine staff members who did not survive .

That day history marked the end of humanity. Almost seven heavily armed men stormed in the premises of Army Public School Peshawar. The attackers first blew up their vehicle behind the school and then fired indiscriminately, before going classroom by classroom to execute dozens more. By the time the siege was over, 149 people including 132 children had been martyred, making it the deadliest attack of our history.

The sheer callousness of the Peshawar school massacre served as the tipping point that united a divided nation and helped to establish a cohesive response to a problem that threatens the next generation and the very future of Pakistan.This violence stunned people around the country and sparked cries for retribution. Our prime minister and the army chief were in Peshawar. Civil Military leadership got united to root out terrorism.Within a week, the moratorium on death penalty was lifted for terrorism convicts and a national counter-terrorism task force was formed to devise an action plan. Imran Khan ended his prolonged sit-ins and cancelled plans for anti-government protests.COAS flew to Kabul with the intelligence chief to shore up support from across the border as they intend to hunt down the leadership of the Pakistani Taliban believed to be based in Afghanistan. Pakistan Army set up military courts for terror-related cases, as part of an ambitious anti-terrorism plan. In the wake of the massacre, COAS said Pakistan would not distinguish between “good Taliban and bad Taliban” as it seeks to crush the scourge of home grown Islamist militancy.Both civil-military leadership took meaningful steps to back up their words.

Pakistani nation is unified to fight the scourge of terrorism and stand united with the government and armed forces of Pakistan whose efforts so far to address this horrific event are commendable. The terrorists could not shake our resolve. We are a strong, brave and resolute nation. The terrorists will fall short of bullets but our determination won’t falter. It has been a year but we remember everything and we will never forget that coldblooded act of terrorism.Time has moved on, but a void still persist. Every student going to school make us remember the children who went to school and never came back. The sacrifices of our children united the nation like never before. The schools remained open, will remain open and expand to every corner of the country. We all vowed to eliminate the darkness of extremism though the light of education. This shows that no matter how hard they try, terrorists cannot break us.

is a freelance writer. Current perusing her degree in Defence and Diplomatic Studies. Her area of research includes strategic stability in South Asia, Nuclear studies, conflict resolution and international law. She tweets at @KiranRaza_01

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