By Saeed Qureshi
On December 16, a group of seven insane human beasts stormed the Army Public School in the Peshawar city of Pakistan and murdered 141 students and instructors. It is so ghastly and colossal a tragedy that defies description in words. The students sitting in class rooms were easy prey for these terrorists that are patently defiling the name of Islam that they profess to enforce by force and perpetrating the orgies of blood.
The families of the innocent victims, the whole nation and even the world at large are in a state of indescribable agony and anguish. The torrents of tears would continue flowing down the eyes of the parents no one know how long. Hundreds of families have been devastated and there is no way that their pain can be subsided. This appalling massacre of flowers of nation in such large number is perhaps the first of its kind in the recent history.
While the nations and the world mourns this gruesome carnage, the paramount question begs the answer: how to definitively and conclusively forestall and prevent such terrorism and nab and exterminate the heartless predators. If such mayhems continue to happen and give rude shocks to this nation then mark my words we neither have an ensured future nor an honorable and peaceful existence.
Have we not to cleanse the territory of Pakistan from the murderers and assassins killing the people at will and making the society hostage to their convoluted and weird interpretation of religion? Have we not to expunge the cancer of mushrooming violence and terrorism spawned by these blood hounds in the name of making Pakistan an Islamic state? These mindless and misguided jihadists are waging a religious crusade against their own people.
The gun-toting Taliban and their merciless cohorts shedding human blood for nasty designs and bleak objectives, have to be physically eliminated once and for all. Their supporters and henchmen in Pakistan and across the border in Afghanistan too have to be wiped off for the sake of peace that has remained elusive for several decades.
The state of Pakistan appeared on the map of the world in 1947 and ever since has been under siege of the relentless sway of the religious extremists who want to convert it into an orthodox country of distant past/. How long we shall we witness these horrific mayhems and our people being ambushed and rampaged by these callous thugs and spiteful gangsters?
Let us resolve and resolve resolutely that from onwards the land of Pakistan would be made immune from the Frankenstein of fanaticism. Let us resolve to hunt them down and finish them wherever they might be: hidden in mosques, religious seminaries, in houses, in caves or under the protection of the mightiest.
The National Plan of Action announced by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in the all parties’ conference is the first major step toward a long drawn comprehensive blitz against the terrorists, enemies of public peace and the religious fascists.
But more needs to be done. The religious seminaries are the breeding centers for producing indoctrinated suicide bombers and Taliban fighters who bob and kill in order to be the dwellers of the paradise. All religious schools and institutions should be either closed or taken over by the government. These institutions should be integrated with the national education system with strict watch on their activities and system of teaching. The religious education can be made part of the prevalent education system and individuals or a group of bearded zealots should not be allowed to run those institutions.
The Imams of the major mosques in Pakistan should be appointed by the government like other cadres and paid like government employees. Even if this is not possible then a strict accountability and monitoring of their daily activities and education and the syllabi should be enforced. The mosques should be opened during the prayer timings and closed for the rest of the day.
The religious militant organizations spreading sectarian hatred and resorting to the target killings should be banned and their top notch leaders arrested and sentenced if they don’t desist from their ruinous pursuits. Any agitation or revolt or civil disobedience, or underground subversive activities, in the name of enforcing their respective myopic and narrow agendas, should be forcibly suppressed. Let religious freedom be ensured to the people across the board.
These recommendations are aimed at liberating the state and the society from fanatic religious marauders that have hijacked the society through fear, intimidation and heinous crimes such as bank robberies, extortion of money, forceful recruitment of youth for suicide bombings and sectarian vendettas and blowing up girls’ schools. The mission like cleansing of Swat Valley by the army in 2007-2009 can be reenacted in the entire country.
The Taliban and their ferocious ilk pose constant danger to the very state of Pakistan. Any attempts to change their inflexible attitude and diabolic activities are not going to fructify. Let State deal with them with full might and sniff them out of the society. That is the only course to restore peace, establish the writ of law in Pakistan and to ensure a tolerant, egalitarian and stable society.
The writer is a senior journalist, former editor of Diplomatic Times and a former diplomat. His articles can be read on his blog.