The unfortunate incident in Peshawar cannot and should not be condemn in routine words. The cost that has been incurred is beyond human conception and definition of terrorism. However, the reaction and message from the people should be appreciated as the nation collectively respond, condemn and launched processions countrywide. In doing so, the people from political parties, civil society, students and professionals along with business community joined hands to reinforce their uncontested position on religious extremism and terrorism.

I participated in the procession in Islamabad press club. My observations led me to new disappointment and dismay vis-à-vis ‘Civil’ society. Our so called ‘Civil’ society, comprises of various dimension of politics. They also have to ‘cash’ such events, as it is required to build their port-folios, their activeness be recorded, so that the funding organizations can consider them for outsourcing their development agendas and other humanitarian and development projects. They, like any other political party, have to ensure their presence at such grief filled moments.

How could we mourn this event like ordinary death, how can we raise the same slogans? How can we not question the existing dimensions of the problem and proposed solution? I stood and looked in amazement how every section of this ‘civil’ society was framing the issues as per their personal agenda and tag-line of their own organization. Some of them were highlighting ‘education’ as the main theme, others were giving it a gender dimension. During my brief stay, three different organizations came, ensured their camera coverage and then went away as if their task was done and no other thing was needed. I am expecting to see newspaper coverage of these organizations showing some photographs with typical statements. I am surprised how we can find words to express the grief and sorrow. It was not just some people we have lost but our future. Unfortunately, we remain, like always, so predictable. It’s not only the political parties and leadership that are to be blamed but all of us are equally responsible.

We should have been silent, because silences can speak sometimes louder than the empty slogans. Our silence would have given the message that we, the people, are not taking that event as merely an act of terrorism, a routine act of terrorism. We have considered it something beyond the domain of terrorism, something which we will deal with different attitudes, new words, new voices and new actions that have been absent so far.

ARSLAN WAHEED,

Islamabad, December 18.