The tragedy still reverberates in the nation’s psyche, the images of that dark day still move the heart; December 16 2014 will be etched in Pakistan’s narrative, and it should be. The whole nation came together in grief, and now it comes together in remembrance. From cricket teams to government institutions, from celebrities to the common man, everyone pays tribute to each one of the 140 individuals who lost their lives, and praises the strength of each survivor. Their grace and solidarity is appreciated, and perhaps with time the wounds will heal – but what about the weapon?

The remembrance serves another purpose too; it solidifies our resolve to battle the menace that bought such atrocities to our door. Despite the poignancy of the ISPR’s commemorative videos and the wisdom in the Prime Minister’s expected words, the real test is not how emotionally we remember the lost, but how passionately we fight to prevent such a thing from happening again. While the hangings of the people responsible might bring vindictive satisfaction, it is how the government and the military tackles religious extremism that should be the real benchmark.

And while progress has been undeniably made, the state’s progress a year later is far from par. The National Action Plan (NAP) – conceived after a marathon all-party meeting – is living up to its unfortunate acronym. Whole sections of the plan have been dropped midway, and those that are being pursued are imperfectly executed. The government roared at INGOs to make them register properly, but could merely squeak in front of the madrassa boards – the real problem. Registration and surveillance of seminaries, revision of seminary syllabus to make it productive, and actions against rebel mosques, are all highly crucial objectives of the NAP that have been forgotten. The military has bombed militant hideouts in FATA, but the Haqqani network curiously escapes the crosshair, as do the myriad of anti-India and anti-minority terrorist groups in Punjab – regardless of what they call themselves. The government and the military’s claim of not differentiating between religious extremists fail at first inspection, when Punjabi extremist groups canvass funds with impunity and Zakiur-Rehman Lakhvi lives like a king in prison.

Hate speech provision are being thankfully implemented, but the high profile cases target Altaf Hussain to protect the “dignity of the armed forces”, while true hate mongers like Maulana Abdul Aziz and ASWJ declaim their poison in peace. Civilian LEAs – the first line of defense – are just as ill-equipped and ill-prepared, while the military spends millions buying submarines that it will probably never use in combat. The military has stepped up the prosecution of militants, but it is done in such secrecy that no one knows who these nameless faceless ‘terrorists’ actually are, or if they are actually terrorists. All this while the men in boots have cynically increased their power, and entrenched themselves into the government and the constitution.

Much has been done – the narratives are changing and a purpose is in the air – but much, much more needs to be done. We owe it to memory of the innocent children of the Army Public School Peshawar.