12 July 2020 08:19 AM


Humayun Gauhar | 20 DECEMBER, 2014

Who Killed Our Children?

At a funeral in Peshawar

After turning Peshawar’s Army Public School into a killing field one of the terrorists phoned his handlers and asked: “We have killed all the children in the auditorium. What do we do now?” The handler replied: “Wait for the army people, kill them before blowing yourself up.”

Not just the terrorists, I’ll tell you who really killed our children. We did. We did by our callous attitude. We did by holding forth thoughtlessly, unwittingly becoming apologists for terrorism. We did by electing and tolerating terrible leadership. We did by tolerating the demented sermonizing of demonic mullahs in mosques, madrassas and political parties. Thus did we allow terrorists to thrive. They are the products of our perfidy. They just press triggers. We give them guns, not books as Malala lamented. Most of all, I am angry with myself for not standing up more against society’s duplicity.

The problem is that most of our men don’t have balls; our women do. Why not hand Pakistan over to women? They would do a damn sight better job than men who are only good at contemplating their navels and then haranguing us with whatever nonsense comes to their challenged minds.

Control your anger, Humayun. Cut to the chase. Beating chests won’t do. Learn from the tragedy of the coldblooded massacre of 144 people including 132 schoolchildren, analyze mistakes and find corrections. Time to understand: THIS IS OUR WAR. Own it, fight it. Understand that terrorism is akin to a venom-spewing tree. Plucking its leaves, cutting branches and chopping its trunk doesn’t work. Destroy its roots in the ground and in our minds where they are most dangerous.

It took this tragedy to bring our ‘misleaders’ together in a ‘Political Fest’. A photograph of these geniuses makes one’s heart sink: are these the men who are going to lead our destiny? God help us, but He will not until we help ourselves first. Start by kicking misleaders out of our body politic that they have been polluting for years. Many of them called the terrorists “stakeholders”, “sulking compatriots”, “one of us” with whom we must hold a dialogue and allow them to open an office here. They must be mollycoddled and brought back in the fold. We lost eight precious months and the element of surprise before the army launched an operation against them with a reluctant prime minister going along. These men around the table who would lead our destiny admit that elections were rigged, that there is corruption and yet would support an illegal government on the pretext of supporting sham democracy and a political system that benefits them and them alone.

Lacking originality, the Political Fest decided to set up a committee. Yippee! The terrorists must be quaking with fright. The army forced them to agree to hang all convicted terrorists forthwith.

What should be done?

1. Formation of a National War Government even if it comprises buffoons to get national consensus on the new anti-terrorism strategy.

2. Parliament should immediately declare a counter Jihad against fake Jihadi terrorists.

3. Declare a National War Emergency. Don’t let the fake treason case against General Musharraf weigh on what passes for your minds.

4. Empower the National Counter Terrorism Authority, give it funds and a head. Don’t quibble over whether a general (who would do a damn sight better job) or a pet civilian should head it. If government can spend billions on metro-buses and motorways, surely it can give much-needed fewer funds to NACTA. Problem is, motorways and metro buses give kickbacks; NACTA doesn’t. For God’s sake get satiated now you politicians.

5. Launch a simultaneous countrywide operation against terrorists of all ilk.

6. Give Afghanistan 24 hours to hand over terrorists and separatists to us or we will come to get them ourselves. Their lament that we don’t give their terrorists to them should be agreed to. There should be no such thing as “their terrorists” and “our terrorists”, “Good Taliban” and “Bad Taliban” just as there are no ‘Good Demons’ and ‘Bad Demons’. Demons are demons, period. All terrorists are everyone’s terrorists and should be dealt with collectively. Forget this fifth front nonsense.

7. Strengthen laws so that terrorists don’t easily get bail.

8. Establish summary courts run on due process with one appeal. Implement sentences immediately so terrorists don’t sit in jail foisting hell.

9. Create a narrative to counter the pernicious brainwashing narrative of terrorists and their sympathizers.

10. Kick out pro-terrorist mullahs from all mosques and madrasas.

11. Strengthen PEMRA to properly regulate media so that it doesn’t let these demons and their apologists spew their demented venom and pollute minds.

12. Unite people against terrorism government must end State Terrorism, like the Model Town massacre.

13. Make contemporary curricula for all educational institutions and ban the terrorist-producing Nebraska curriculum that the US made to create Mujahedeen against the Soviets.

It is easy to jump to conclusions in a storm of emotions. But the bloody outrage has boomeranged against the terrorists who tried to lower our morale by coinciding their heinous act with the fall of Dacca on December 16, spread terror and nip future soldiers in the bud by killing army and civilian children in an army school. This is the fallout, good and bad:

1. People are finally accepting that the war on terror is our war and we are fighting it for ourselves.

2. Instead of showing the army up as ineffective, public support for the army has increased, though one wonders how many more straws the army camel’s back can take before it breaks. Or is it a mule from the famous ‘Mule Battalion’. Many want the army to take over again, but what they should actually demand is true democracy through change of system.

3. They have darned somewhat the tattered civil-military relationship. This should dilute Nawaz Sharif’s “terrible fear” of army intervention. It won’t as long as he doesn’t go too far down the path of imbecility. The Peshawar carnage should show him that situations can change instantaneously and cause reaction. He should remember how his world changed when he illegally sacked General Musharraf, hijacked his plane and tried to send it to India. Bizarre is a word not unknown to us.

4. They succeeded in showing Imran Khan’s KPK provincial government as incompetent.

5. They succeeded in ending Imran’s protests against election fraud and prevented the shutting down of the country on December 18. This has helped Nawaz Sharif more than the terrorists. Perhaps it also gave Imran the chance to get out of a blind alley because he wouldn’t ratchet up his protest by storming the citadels of the great. He is convinced that this system can put him in office through honest elections, little realizing that honest elections aren’t possible in this system.

Who does it benefit, advertently or inadvertently?

1. The government under inordinate pressure, though I am not suggesting for a moment that it was behind the massacre.

2. India, for it would love Nawaz Sharif to remain in office and continue his India-pandering. I am certainly suggesting that India might be behind the dastardly deed, as it has been behind many before.

3. Afghanistan perhaps for it makes Pakistan more dependent on its cooperation.

Whose fault is it? It is our collective fault for not standing up to state and non-state terrorism and not supporting something good when it is being done. We opposed President Musharraf when he tried to cleanse the Lal Masjid of terrorist mullahs not because we like them but because we hated Musharraf more. We supported chief justice Iftikhar Chaudhry when Musharraf sacked him not because we liked him but because we liked Musharraf less. A confused ‘elected’ government restored Iftikhar Chaudhry and his cohorts who in turn restored the terrorist Mullah Burqa to Lal Masjid. Today he supports the school massacre as justified reaction to the army’s anti-terrorist operation in North Waziristan and government lets him be. That people are protesting outside the mosque means that they have finally woken up and are learning. They should storm it and do what Musharraf was forced to leave undone. Refuse to pray in the mosque until it is purified and cleansed of these Devil’s demons.

The deficiency of testosterone producing orbs primarily afflicts our politicians, pseudo intellectuals, most male media anchors and analysts. Our religious leaders are semi-literate and so mentally challenged that they twist the Word of God to achieve their ends, shamelessly preach it and act against the Word of God, like “thou shalt not kill” for killing one human being is akin to killing the whole of humanity. Fazlur Rahman who exploits religion for his politics and has the temerity to call himself ‘Maulana’ says his heart beats as one with the Taliban. Today to save his politics he says that killing children is not Jihad. Haven’t children been killed by terrorists before you moron?

An angry lady messaged the growing national sentiment to me: “Children were shot in the face. Children were shot in the head. Children were dragged out from under the chairs, under the tables, and shot. At point blank. Methodically. Coldly. Clinically. To avenge the deaths of militants who were wreaking havoc on innocent Pakistanis in myriad acts of terror. It’s retribution, they say.

“I have nothing to say here. You call yourself a Muslim and yet you do what Allah forbids you to do: to perpetrate a war in His name where you kill children. Where you kill people who have never harmed you. You are not just Pakistan’s enemies but you are also your own worst enemy.

“Before a court penalizes you, before the bullet of a soldier kills you, you will die a thousand deaths. The screams of the children you killed today, the wails of the parents whose children you killed today, the pain of the nation whose young you killed today will not let you be in peace. Until you die.

“Words have lost their value to express the magnitude of the damage done to the hearts and souls of a common Pakistani. May Allah SWT rest the innocent departed souls in peace in heaven and give courage and forbearance to the bereaved families to bear this colossal loss. Ameen. I feel extremely sorry for every Pakistani mother especially for those who have lost their treasures of a lifetime. May Allah protect our children.

“First step: Mr. Prime Minister we don’t need statements from you. Stop showing your sorrow and stop these sorry statements. Within this week announce hanging of the 500 plus terrorists under custody and hang them publicly. We don’t need your wordy pious statements. The whole nation should ask only one thing: public hanging of the arrested terrorists. Our slogan for the campaign against terrorism and terrorists for the government and the armed forces is: ‘An Eye for an Eye. A tooth for a tooth. Hang them all. Hang ’em High.”

The intrepid Muhammad Hanif wrote: “There is no need to offer prayers for the souls of the children killed in Peshawar. What possible sin could 16-year-olds have committed? Pakistan’s political and military leadership is requested not to worry about the children’s afterlife. When they raise their hands in prayer, they should pray for their own forgiveness. And they should look at their hands closely, lest they be stained with blood.” I would add from Macbeth: “Out, out damned spot.”

I am not done.

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