Letter from Pakistan: My Country Shrieks in Pain

Published: December 16, 2014 18:15 IST
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(Mehr Tarar is former Op-ed Editor, Daily Times, Pakistan)

I drop my son to school every morning.

I have been doing it for the last 13 years, and I do it even now when he's almost 15.

As he steps out of the car with a bright smile, I blow Ayat-ul-Kursi on him, watching him enter the school gate. I worry about his safety without even being aware that I worry about his safety. No, it's not because I feel unsafe in Pakistan, but because he is the most precious person in the world to me, and until I see him back with me, I feel a part of me is not there.

Today, I feel as if I have been punched in my stomach. In my heart. And in my soul. With an iron rod. As I hear of children who were killed in an Army school in Peshawar, I feel my heart stopping.

Children were shot in the face. Children were shot in the head. Children were dragged out from under the chairs, under the tables, and shot. At point blank. Methodically. Coldly. Clinically. They - who go by the name of the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan - say it is to avenge the Army operation against them in the FATA. To avenge the deaths of militants who were wreaking havoc on innocent Pakistanis in myriad acts of terror. It's retribution, they say.

I have nothing to say here. You call yourself a Muslim, you call your fight a jihad, you call your way that of Allah. And yet you do what Allah forbids you to do: to perpetrate a war in His name where you kill children. Where you kill people who have never harmed you. You are not just Pakistan's enemy but you are also your own worst enemy.

Before a court penalizes you, before the bullet of a soldier kills you, you will die a thousand deaths. The screams of the children you killed today, the wails of the parents whose children you killed today, the pain of the nation whose young you killed today will not let you be in peace. Until you die.

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