Tehreek-e-Taliban of Pakistan is a loose knit group of Jihadi militants responsible for thousands of unwarranted Pakistani deaths since its inception in 2007. The act of horror that they perpetrated against a kids' school in Peshawar, killing 148 of whom 132 were children is outrageous, inhuman and unforgivable. Who sanctions human beings to kill school children? Targeting innocent children is an unconscionable choice -- and certainly not Islamic! The heinous crime perpetrated by the Taliban was prompted by the Pakistani government's offensive against the Taliban in June 2014 and Afghanistan exiling them concurrently landed them in Pakistan's tribal areas.
The Pakistani Taliban's rationale for targeting the school attended by the children of the Army was to make them "feel the pain of losing their children," and their justification is "we targeted the school because the army targets our families," said Mr Khurasani in a phone interview. On another note, Malala Yousufzai, shared this year's Noble Prize with an activist in India was the brave young woman who was shot at by the Taliban for supporting girls' education and secularism. Malala said: "I am heartbroken by this senseless and cold hearted act of terror.... I, along with millions of others around the world mourn these children, my brothers and sisters - but we will never be defeated."
Peace on the subcontinent is exacerbated by an age old frame in Pakistan that views India as its "mortal enemy." This frame needs a serious re-think! Pakistan also has the dubious distinction of taking US aid funds while supporting and exploiting various Taliban groups as a bulwark against India and Afghanistan. A Massacre of Innocents in Pakistan spells out the opportunities and challenges the sub-continent would be enhanced if India and Pakistan could level with each other, become allies and economic partners in development as opposed to mortal enemies, exacerbating tensions. India and Pakistan share a common history, roots and culture. A logical extension would be to make peace, not war through Indo-Pak bridge building. This could result in a paradigm shift in our attitudes resulting in collaborative outcomes, economic output, benefiting both India and Pakistan.
A corrective political course in Pakistan is the need of the hour. Corruption needs to be eradicated and good governance is essential. The government needs a new equation with the Taliban. Clean and disciplined politicians need to be elected. The Taliban needs to reincarnate itself. The Pakistanis cannot continue to play a duel game with the Taliban, using them when necessary for their own dirty work. After years of supporting the Jihadists and the "good Taliban post 9/11", the army changed course and prepared to dismantle the "bad" Taliban. The Taliban responded by killing 132 school children. Terror is central to Pakistani life. When the Hazaras were attacked, when the Ahmadi mosque was blown up and when Malala was shot in the face, the familiar response was: "this was unfortunate."
Mira Sethi and Shehrbano Taseer, co-authors of "Avenging the Children of Peshawar" now ask: "Will the 132 children who were killed also find a way to fit into this narrative?" Sethi and Taseer highlight how mainstream politicians promote conspiracy theories to thwart a national consensus against terrorism, how Imran Khan, cricket star turned politician promoted a popular but toxic narrative about the need "to talk" with terrorists. When Imran Khan was asked by a reporter whether he would condemn the Taliban, he responded: "The situation is not clear yet." Sethi and Taseer say: "The situation has never been clearer. It is time to dispense with delusions of threats from "foreign sources," and the idea that our problems are elaborate conspiracies hatched by others. Our government does not need to "talk" with the Taliban. It needs to prosecute them."