On 16th January- one month anniversary of the tragic Peshawar attack, people came out on the streets in large numbers to make a bold statement in unison. Large rallies were organized in three major cities; Lahore, Islamabad and Karachi while many people observed black day to register their protest. They came out to prove their conscience was not dead; they wanted the world to know that they have been hurt, hurt badly and they refuse to remain silent anymore. Determined to take charge of the current situation, a new resolve could be felt in their angry slogans; they were not afraid, not ready to back down.
The terrorists had ruthlessly killed over 134 children, we could not forget those blood stained classrooms or their grieving mothers so soon, could we? Were we finally becoming a defiant yet reasonable nation? Had the Peshawar tragedy finally shaken each and every individual so strongly that we refused to forget and move on after a month?
The answer is no; many of us have moved on. These protests coinciding with the one month anniversary of Peshawar attack had in fact nothing to do with these brutal attacks. They were not organized to show support to those ageing fathers who had lost their sons or those wailing mothers who had lost a large piece of their heart forever. They were for a greater cause, to protect Islam from the infidels by burning your own country down, clashing with the police and shooting a journalist because these are the very traits Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) would have admired instead of compassion and empathy in the aftermath of Peshawar tragedy.
This empathy deficiency it seemed was a common disease prevailing in Pakistan all over, not only among religious right. Few weeks after the attack; the media found a new story, a love story as a replacement. TV channels, websites, newspapers were taken over by the wedding frenzy and everybody wanted to know every little detail possible. The depressing stories from Peshawar were replaced by the buzz circulating the Peshawari chappal. The aggrieved parents in Peshawar were aghast by this change of attitude but they were brushed aside and termed as planted political agents.
While all this was happening, there was a small section of society who could not stand to see another tragedy of similar nature; people who once again came out on the streets on January 16th to mark the one month anniversary of Peshawar massacre, people who had constantly stood outside Lal Masjid risking their lives so that the supporters of brutal killings in Peshawar could be taken to task. However, these protests held in Lahore, Islamabad and Karachi were scantily covered by the media and failed to gather a large crowd probably because they were not sensational or religious enough.
We pledged to never forget the Peshawar attack, yet moved on to greater and graver issues. The Peshawar incident was definitely not a watershed moment for many. The civil society however gives me an ounce of hope that we are still clinging on to sanity despite all this madness around us. Perhaps we are still not morally dead yet but unless we decide to break our silence, this death is imminent!