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Years are passing but the pain persists; Remembering 16th December 2014

I am here
I am happy, 
Look above
I have friends
Ravens, butterflies and the dove
They play with me,
In sky, garden and the sea

Mom! I am happy, I am here
I miss you
And Daddy too
But I am happy
I stood against wrong
I love you, Please Stay Strong............

The 20th century, which was marked as the technologically changing era around the globe, took Pakistan with the storm of terrorism. Whether it was Parachinar bombing; 13th December 2015 (reported 25 killed and 62 injured), Karachi bus shooting; 13th May 2015 (45 dead), Peshawar Mosque attack; 13th February 2015 (24 casualties and more than 50 with serious injuries), Bacha Khan University attack; 20th January 2016, Lahore suicide bombing; 27th March, 2016 (72 killed and over 300 injured), none of the incident is any less agonizing.

But the worst and coward bloodshed in the history of mankind was carried by Tehreek e Taliban Pakistan (TTP) on 16th December 2014 at Army Public School, Peshawar. This attack exposed the real face of terrorists, who were so horrified, perplexed, and stranded that they chose innocent children as their target.

December 16th, no doubt is the Dark Day for each and every Pakistani. As the date approaches, we feel empty, gloomy and our hearts bleed but we cannot deny the fact that this incident shook us to the core, we became “Nation” one again. Saying that we feel the pain of a mother who lost her lakht e jigar or the ache of a father whose heart was wrenched when he held his child in arms, is true to an extent but no one can purely feel the agony these family went through that day and are going through every day.

Reclining on the sofa, I was thinking how the families of martyrs and the survivors cope with 16th December every year? The flashback of that day must be disturbing and chilling for them. Do they wish to rewind the day and year to 15th December 2014? Just because father could give another tight hug to his son, buy him anything and everything he asked for, a mother could cook all the favorite dishes for her child, feed him herself. They might want to rewind the time so that they come up with an excuse of not sending their children to school the next morning.  But that cannot be done, that can’t be done.

How unpredictable was that morning of 16th December 2014? With school bags on their shoulders; giggling, chatting, jumping, laughing, students of Army Public School, Peshawar were heading towards the school gate. They were hurrying up to reach to their classrooms before the assembly bell rings. I remember, being a student, I always loved recess and pack up time. Playing with friends in break time and seeing parents after six hours of school was the most exciting part. The carefree, merry, innocent future of the nation had no idea how cloudy this sunny day was going to turn. I remember, being a student, all I waited whole day was to see my mother’s smiling face, my father’s eyes filled with pride and that always made my day. Those kids must have been going through the same feelings. They must be anxiously waiting for the last period to reach home, eat scrumptious lunch mother must have cooked. Who knew many of them were enjoying the last recess of life and that they will never be tasting mom’s food ever again, or will never run towards door to hug their father? They wanted to make their parents proud.

Without any doubt, when they reached their parents in coffins, they did make them feel proud but the loss was irreparable, the pain was unbearable. Surely,

“The smallest coffins are the heaviest.”

The date passed, the day gone but the mark is still there in our hearts. A horrific, heart wrenching, appalling and dreadful massacre of 16th December still scares me each day I send my children to school. Stating, it does not scare you as a parent is self-betrayal. The fear though has made us more determined, more resolute to send our children to school (specifically Armed Forces School) to slap straight on the face of those terrible terrorists.

May God give more strength to the families of martyrs to bear the loss. May God give more power to survivors to emerge as stronger than before. Ameen

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