Guest post by S. AKBAR ZAIDI [This post was sent to us by our friend S. Akbar Zaidi. Though published earlier in The International News of Pakistan, we are reproducing it here because it represents a position that is felt by many inside Pakistan but which right-wingers in India would love not to see. Like right-wingers and Talibanis in Pakistan, our very own Hindutvavadis too thrive on presenting a monolithic picture of something called ‘Pakistan’.]
This was a massacre, nothing less. We should call it that, nothing less. We may want to call the children ‘shaheed’, but they were not engaged in any war against anyone. They were too innocent and blameless for this. They were victims. Let us call them that. They were victims of our politics, of our opportunism, of hiding in the dark, and especially of protecting the murderers. Do we simply pray for innocent victims, and absolve ourselves of the crimes that we have allowed to persist which resulted in this massacre? As Mohammad Hanif has so eloquently argued, Pakistan’s civil and military leadership needs to examine their own bloodstained hands when they raise their hands in prayer. It was the bloody Taliban butchers who killed these children, not militants or some obscure, unspecific category called ‘terrorists’. Let us name them for who they are. We cannot hide away from this reality and unless we name names, we will not alter our political economy, our direction. If we are waiting for the good Taliban to emerge and denounce this massacre, we need to stop hoping. We must stop differentiating between different types of killers. There is no good Taliban, just one ideology represented and manifest in different groups and forms. Continue reading A Massacre is a Massacre and There is no Good Taliban: S. Akbar Zaidi
Guest post by AKHLAQ AHAN
Every sane person is aghast to see what has happened in Peshawar, where Taliban’s attack on a school has crossed all limits of savagery and senselessness. They killed over 140 innocents mostly children, after taking them hostage, burned a teacher with gasoline and made the students watch the ghastly act.
Historically the area is part of the region known as ‘Khorasan e Buzurg’ or the greater Khorasan spanning over the so called North West Frontier, Afghanistan, North East Iran and erstwhile Emirate of Bukhara. The area, for thousands of years, has been the heart and mind of Asia; as this was the region where Gathas of Avesta and Vedas were compiled, Buddhist teachings flourished and survived, Persian traditions were revived, the seekers of truth flocked around Sufi masters to be enlightened. This is the land that produced personalities like Zarathustra, Panini, Alberuni, Khwaja Ansari, Data Ganj Bakhsh, Khwaja Gharib Nawaz, Rumi, Jami, Rahman Baba and hundreds of others. Scores travelled to the region to seek knowledge and training like Faxian, Xuanzang, Yijing, Shams Taprez (Tabrez), Amir Khusraw, Guru Nanak, Jamali and countless others. Though the region has seen occasional strife in the past too but the traditions of inclusion had continued to prevail till about a couple of centuries ago, when these values began to face systematic attacks. A few like Bacha Khan, in his autobiography, gauged the extent of the spread of these exclusionist ideas and warned against them. Continue reading Taliban Attack – the Limits of Savagery: Akhlaq Ahan
The HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION OF PAKISTAN has issued the following statement on the Taliban attack on school children in Peshawar
December 16, 2014
Lahore, December 16: The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) has called the killing of more than 120 children in a Taliban attack on an army-run school in Peshawar a national tragedy which it said must open the eyes of anyone still harbouring any doubts that Taliban and Pakistan could coexist.
In a statement issued on Tuesday, the Commission said: “HRCP is deeply saddened by the large number of children killed in the Taliban attack on ArmyPublic School in Peshawar. This is a national tragedy of immense proportions, and an extremely sad day for Pakistan. Our heart goes out to the families of the children whose lives have been cut short by this abhorrent act of terrorism.
“The target was an army-run school, but it was a school nonetheless. It is not children who fight against the Taliban. And yet the choice of the target and the heavy casualties among the children leave no doubt that the massacre was aimed at killing as many children as possible.
“Nothing, including religion, norms of armed conflict or even common decency, justifies such brutal targeting of children. But it is no secret that the killers and those who dispatched them to attack the school have respect neither for religious commandments nor notions of civilised or decent behaviour. The targeting of children made sense to them because they stand for blood-letting and not much else.
“HRCP reiterates its firm belief that Taliban and Pakistan cannot coexist and anyone still harbouring any notions to the contrary is naive beyond belief.
“It had already been established, much before Tuesday’s massacre of children in Peshawar, where the Taliban stood in terms of education or value of children’s lives. Their actions today have shown once again that Pakistan will not know peace until this madness is taken on in all its manifestations and defeated. Continue reading Human Rights Commission of Pakistan Condemns Killing of Children in Taliban Attack