16th December 2014 will be etched in the minds of countless souls around the world. It was the day Pakistan faced one of its worst terrorist attacks yet, with the majority of casualties being innocent school children.
Image Source : IndianExpress
The attack was carried out by the Tehrik –i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), a terrorist group that has been trying to overthrow the Pakistan government for some time now. On Tuesday, a group of militants from the outfit stormed into the Army Public School (APS), Peshawar, and opened fire. The shooting and hostage situation lasted for hours, and ended with over 145 people being killed, out of which 132 were children between the ages of 3 and 15 years.
Even as the country reeled in shock, the Taliban issued a brazen statement, accepting responsibility for the attack, and claiming that it was their retaliation for the Pakistan army who had killed the wives and children of its militant’s in North and South Waziristan a few months ago.
An eye for an eye is what some may call it. However, one thing that need to be noted in both these attacks is how innocent women and children were targeted. What do these innocent souls know about terrorism and politics? And does this cowardly act indicate something more in the Taliban’s agenda than just revenge?
Reports have for some time now suggested the ongoing feud within the Taliban camp. Instances of the main camp splitting into smaller camps that fight with each other had made the outfit seemingly insignificant in the eyes of the Pakistan and its people. As such, many believe that this attack was Taliban’s way of saying that they are very much alive and active in the country. The infighting that happens between the groups are what fuel the rising terror attacks in Pakistan, as some also say.
Children as Targets
Taliban seemingly finds it easier to target children. The outfit had previously tried to kill Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai back in 2012 for advocating the cause of education for girls in Pakistan and around the world. This easily proves that the Taliban’s statement of the Peshawar attack being an act of revenge is not true. They have been targeting children for ages now and would continue to do so, irrespective of whether they get bombed in return or not.
The future of education in Pakistan
The Peshawar attack was a carefully planned ambush, with the militants targeting children, not leaving even those who hid behind doors and cowered under the benches. The question that now fills the minds of every parent who resides in Pakistan is whether he/she can send her kids to school without fearing about them returning home safe and sound? The children who survived the attack are scarred for life as well as they keep recollecting the bloodied faces of their beloved friends and teachers. It won’t come as a surprise that more parents in Pakistan would want to home school their children now and give them a much safer environment to shape their future.
The Taliban claimed responsibility for the Army school attack in Peshawar, citing it as an act of revenge. However, considering the fact that the outfit is mired in its own struggles and has targeted children for ages now, the reason of revenge does not seem to hold true.