16 December 2014 is one of the worst days Pakistan has had to live through since its inception. This national tragedy, which has caused unimaginable grief and pain across the landscape, will not and must not be forgotten anytime soon. Muhammad Khorasani of Jamat-ul-Ahrar, also known as Omer Khorasani, of the Jamat-ul-Ahrar, a faction of the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan led by Mullah Fazlullah, has accepted responsibility for the attack on the school. In his statement given to the media, the militant commander termed the attack as retaliation for the ongoing military operation in FATA.Some say that at a time like this, it is not wise and appropriate to blame the government or state institutions. Such a tragedy calls for unity, and criticism doesn’t help to achieve that purpose. But no consensus can be built, no wrong can be corrected, no problem can be solved by deciding against speaking the truth. And the truth is this: Not just terrorists, but everyone, from the wider population to the civil and military leadership is responsible for the barbarity our children were subjected to.Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, your government has contributed absolutely nothing towards building a narrative against extremism. Operation Zarb-e-Azb started without your permission, and it continues absent meaningful political ownership. You have refused to act against seminaries funded through Saudi money, which are poisoning the minds of our youth and turning them into zealots. Instead of putting them behind bars, the Punjab government protects sectarian elements as they return the favour by not attacking you and taking out rallies in your support.Chairman Imran Khan, you are the most mainstream and consistent Taliban sympathiser in the country. Despite the murder of 132 children in the capital of the province where your party is in power, you couldn’t muster the courage to name the Taliban. You have done a great disservice to this nation by repeatedly justifying the murder of your fellow countrymen and pushing a toxic narrative based on factual inaccuracies and ignorance.Chief of Army Staff General Raheel Sharif, despite all that has happened, despite the many sacrifices of the brave soldiers who have died fighting terrorists, you refuse to employ a blanket policy against non-state actors. While the military conducts operations against bad Taliban in FATA, it continues to protect sectarian elements in Quetta, the Afghan Taliban and other ‘jihadi’ organisations such as Jamat-ud-Dawa. The country is reaping what it has sown over decades.Citizens, you seek comfort in conspiracy theories to avoid facing the ugly truth. What will it take for you to unite against extremism unequivocally and without provisos?The idea is not to berate or discourage, but to offer a reality check and prompt change of policy for the sake of our children, for the sake of our country’s future. Only the truth will set us free.