In the wake of the horrific twin blasts in Peshawar that hit a church and killed more than 83 Pakistani Christians while wounding more than 100, the nation mourns yet another colossal loss of human life. Graphic photos and videos from the aftermath broke hearts all over the country. The debate on the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government’s favoured negotiation with militants has been frustrating to hear, but this time has been received with ever more dejection and cynicism from citizens nationwide. Political analysts – for the most part – reiterated the futility of engaging with a force that contradicted its claim to cooperate numerous times by now, at the bloody expense of innocent citizens.
The only way to cope, and the only hope that is visible, is that Pakistanis responded together, in a single voice. With the Christian community, one and all were united in grief . Solidarity gained momentum among Pakistanis from all walks of life. Protests took place in various cities. Student groups united to raise their voice against this shattering tragedy. Vigils attended by families, youths, the elderly from different religions were arranged in provincial capitals. It has been obvious as always, that the collective conscience and empathy of Pakistanis has not been defeated by vicious extremism, and it also brought our attention to the growing display of unity between Pakistanis – regardless of their religious affiliations. In Forman Christian College, a memorial was held by both Muslim and Christian students, professors and staff workers to honor the memory of those who had died in Peshawar. Hundreds of people were present in the jam-packed Sinclair Hall.
But more than organized demonstrations, the individual sentiment that has been echoed across Pakistan has provided genuine human comfort. Hollow official condemnations and placatory statements provide little balm. The process of attaining justice seems impossibly mired in confusion. Despondency is well-deserved and commonplace. But, we are together in this. If there is pain to be felt, we will feel it together. If there are trials to be borne, we will bear them together.
It is only the kindness and compassion of ordinary Pakistani’s that gives us hope. It is not the military and government elite. The only chance left for Pakistan to right it’s path, is in its people coming together to fight for their future. Protest, fight, struggle. Again, and again, and again; until action is taken. There’s no other choice. The nation mourns with its Christian brothers and sisters. No words are enough.