Winter with a bitter cold has arrived, the leaves have slowly began to fall. The sun has been replaced by the harsh raw winds in the morning, all that was bounteous is now barren. The city of flowers, Peshawar, has once again become the city of tears, in remembrance of the delicate petals crushed with brutality on Dec 16, 2014.
It was a deplorable tragedy for our nation and Pakistan. It has been a year now that the innocence was viciously obliterated. Though each one of us experienced the trauma, the shudder and numbness, but what about those families who suffered a personal loss? The whole year these families had plenty of first moments – the first Ramadan, the first Eid, the first Qurbani, the first birthday or the first day of school without their loved ones.
Is there a day when they do not mourn their loss? A day or time, when they do not ardently implore their creator for relief? A day when
they do not look at the photographs, their child’s handwriting or their winter clothes while shopping for the other siblings? Do their mothers lay a plate for their absent child? Do the mothers continue to prepare that Shaheed’s favourite dish? Can the parents even fathom why? Are they transfixed by the image of blood? Does the brutality of events haunt them each time they close their eyes? Now there would not come a day in their lives when the parents would forget to visualize last words, last smile and last hug they received. Their memories are engraved in their eyes and hearts.
And what all we can do is remember… Mobeen Shan who was a Hafiz-e- Qur'an and whose heart was embellished in his religion. Khaula who had recently started going to school driven by her enthusiasm to seek knowledge. Azaan who was the badminton champion, served on the student council and wanted to wear military colors. Ma’am Afshan who stalwartly protected her students by accosting the demons. Shershah who loved literature and desired to be a journalist. Gul Ahmed who wanted to soar in the skies.
Mubeen, whose father is left without his child and wife and is completely alone. Tahira Qazi, a true mother, who did not abandon the ship when it was attacked. Umer Hayat who was the house captain with such a bright future ahead of him. Muhammad Yaseen who would have loved to watch the series of Sri Lanka and Pakistan and was so keen on photography. Haris Nawaz who was taken first and his elder brother Ahmad Nawaz did not survive even after treatment. Nauman Iqbal who wanted to join our Pakistan Army. And the list goes on…
The lights of those homes have dimmed. Their parents and siblings continue to have the power to live. Will they try to attempt the impossible, of bringing normalcy into their lives? Have they abstained from every joy and celebration? Can they even bring a smile to their lips? How will they spend the day of the death anniversary? By the graveside of their child whispering the events of the year passed without them or within the privacy of their homes?
The Army has taken a very courageous and bold step with operation Zarb-e-Azb to rid us of this barbarity and inculcate nationalism. When we pledged our allegiance to this cause, we aligned ourself with the parents’ resolve to avenge the brutal murders. A minute of silence or lighting candles would never suffice.