KARACHI: Yesterday was one of the saddest days in the history of Pakistan. About 141 casualties were reported after at least six armed Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) militants stormed the Army Public School in Peshawar at 9.30am.
The entire country stood still as a military operation went underway immediately afterward, coming to a conclusion at around 6pm in the evening with all the militants dead – along with over a 100 others. Students, police and army personnel lined up to donate blood for the victims; determined to do whatever they could to help.
Families across Pakistan were horrified at the tragedy, with most others taking to social media networks like Twitter and Facebook to express their grief and support for the army. Pakistanis across the world changed their display pictures to simple black in order to show solidarity with the families mourning their loved ones on this sad day.
News websites ran “LIVE” throughout the day, covering the event from all angles.
As Pakistan mourned, sympathy poured in from all corners of the world. #IndiaWithPakistan began trending to show Indian solidarity with their Pakistani counterparts; and #PeshawarAttack, #Peshawar, #PeshawarSiege, #CrushTTP were trending worldwide all day yesterday as the world showed solidarity with Pakistanis.
World leaders also stepped up in support of the country during this time of trial. Turkey announced a national day of mourning with the Turkish Flag flying at half mast just as Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif did likewise on this side of the world; whereas Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced two minutes of silence to mourn the innocents killed in the attack. President Barak Obama called it a “heinous attack” and declared support for Pakistan in the war against terror. “We stand with the people of Pakistan,” he added.
National and international newspapers alike highlighted the tragedy, emphasizing on increased support to the people of Pakistan.
The Taliban might have undertaken this particular suicide mission in order to make the army “feel the pain of losing their loved ones,” as TTP spokesperson Mohammad Umar stated; but their so-called win has become the driving force of renewed vigor in our determination to wipe out all terror elements from this nation.
One father of a martyred soldier declared on live TV after the operation, “We are so proud that our son gave his life to protect the people of this country. We are so proud…”
Mass funerals were held all over the country; with funeral prayers held at Corps Headquarters for the deceased in absentia of the victims of the attack.
However, not all sources were as efficient in their reporting as we would like them to be. CNN made disastrous blunders in its reporting of the tragedy yesterday when they completely misconstrued the information and misreported a lot of the on-ground details. The picture below might help to make that point clearer:
The Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Raheel Sharif declared renewed onslaught against the TTP, and soon after the operation was finished Pakistan Air Force (PAF) started bombing new locations in North Waziristan.
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, while addressing the nation in the aftermath of the tragedy, condemned the attack as cowardly. He stated that the government of Pakistan had agreed with the Afghan leadership “that our soil will not be used against each other”.
“The sacrifice of our children will not be in vain,” he declared. “Our efforts against terrorism will be unrelenting.”
Following the attack, the premier reintroduced the death penalty for terrorism cases amid mass demand for the long-standing moratorium to be lifted.
This tragedy might have shaken Pakistan to the core, but it has also brought us together with renewed determination to fight – and win – this war against terror. This war might have started out in support of the American public after 9/11, but it has been our personal war for the past decade, to say the least. A war we intend to win.