Saturday, December 16, 2017

#Bangladesh - Editing out 1971 - How textbooks distorted and ignored the history of 1971

"I am puzzled that in my lifespan of only 30 years, I have read two versions of the history of our Liberation War and now I am teaching my students a third version of our great national struggle,” shares Md Rakibul Hasan, a teacher of a prominent Bengali-medium school.  
Rakib was a student of grade five in 2000. “I learned about the historic speech of March 7 in school. I also wrote an essay on Bangabandhu's life in the primary school final exam,” he remembers. However, four years later, things changed completely.
“It was around 2004 to 2005 when I was a student of grade eight or nine. To my surprise, I found only a few words about Bangabandhu's life in the history chapter of our social science book and learned that the proclamation of Bangladesh's independence was actually made by Ziaur Rahman,” says Rakib. On the other hand, he found that the Bengali literature textbook was full of tributes to the former President Ziaur Rahman. And the only thing he learned about Bangabandhu was that he was the founder of Bangladesh Krishak Sramik Awami League (Baksal) and was assassinated by the army due to his failure to tackle his government's corruption, which had led to famine and public outrage.
After more than a decade, in 2016 Rakib took up secondary level textbooks again, but this time, as a school teacher. “I found that everything had been changed again. Major Zia had been completely deleted. Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and our struggle for liberation had returned with greater prominence. However, the references to Baksal were also removed.”
It is needless to mention that Rakib's experiences have resulted from the tendency to change textbooks according to the ruling party's ideology and its own version of history. Although there is an autonomous body called the National Curriculum and Textbook Board (NCTB) to formulate curricula and to author and regulate textbooks, they could do nothing to prevent such unethical interventions. According to Professor Narayan Chandra Saha, “NCTB has to act according to the executive order passed by the Ministry of Education. However, we are in the process of formulating a draft National Curriculum Policy Framework. Once it is passed, it will not be so easy to make abrupt changes in the textbooks.”
However, the damage has already been done in the last two decades. The history of Bangladesh's Liberation War was only sparsely described in the textbooks till 1991. After the return of democracy in 1991, some elements of the history of 1971 were introduced, but those were inconclusive. For instance, in the primary and secondary grade textbooks published in 1991, a one-page biography of Bir Shresthas (highest gallantry award winners of the war) was the only content related to 1971. The language movement, mass revolution of 1969, and six-point movement were nowhere to be found.
In 1993, the NCTB edited the primary school Poribesh Porichiti (Shomaj) [Introduction to Environment and Society] book, which included a very brief description of the Liberation War [Poribesh Porichiti (Shomaj), NCTB, Dhaka, 1993, page 45-48]. However, its preceding events and movements were omitted as well. The textbook stated that the proclamation of independence was aired by M A Hannan, a leader of Chittagong Awami League, and Bengali army officer Major Ziaur Rahman, through Kalurghat radio station. This version remained unchanged till 2001.
Excerpt from textbook published by the National Curriculum and Textbook Board. Photo: Kazi Tahsin Agaz Apurbo
In 1996, the AL-led government made some major additions to the secondary level textbooks regarding the history of 1971. For instance, two poems (“Prio shadhinota” by Shamsur Rahman and “He kishor shono” by Mahadev Saha) and an essay (“Rokte lekha muktijuddho”) on the Liberation War were included in the Bengali literature book for grade six; in the Bengali literature book for grade seven, a short story titled “Shomoyer hridpindo” and an essay on the four national leaders were incorporated; and in the Bengali literature textbook of grade eight, a short biography of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and a poem ("Shadhinota, ei shobdoti kibhabe amader holo" by Nirmalendu Goon on Bangabandhu's March 7 speech) were included.
However, in 2001, when the BNP-led government came to power, they abruptly changed all this content. They started with the primary school textbooks. In the Bengali books, references to the March 7 speech as well as all references to his name were erased from the biographies of Bir Shreshta freedom fighters. But perhaps the most notable of “edits” took place in Paribesh Parichiti (Shomaj). Where it was earlier stated that Awami League leader M A Hannan and Major Zia had proclaimed independence on behalf of Bangabandhu on March 27, M A Hannan's name and the words “on behalf of Bangabandhu” were deleted and the date was changed to March 26, thus making Ziaur Rahman the only one who proclaimed independence [Poribesh Porichiti (Shomaj) NCTB, Dhaka, 2001, page 45-47; Amar Boi-Ponchom Bhag, NCTB, Dhaka-2001, page 56-59). 
The changes were more prominent in secondary level textbooks. Banagabandhu's proclamation was erased from the essay titled “Rokte lekha muktijuddho” and Ziaur Rahman's name was introduced in place of Bangabandhu's. The essay on the biographies of four national leaders was completely erased from the grade seven Bengali literature book. Similarly, Bangabandhu's biography and Nirmalendu Goon's poem were erased and replaced by brief biographies of Huseyn Shaheed Suhrawardi, Maulana Abdul Hamid Khan Bhashani, Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and Ziaur Rahman. In this chapter, Bangabandhu was portrayed as a failed administrator whose role was insignificant in the nine months of war and Ziaur Rahman was portrayed as a national hero and the savior of the nation [Shahitto Konika, grade eight, NCTB, Dhaka, 2001]. In all other primary, secondary and even higher secondary level books, Bangabandhu was carefully replaced by Ziaur Rahman as the proclamator of independence, and the former's name was mentioned as little as possible.
Excerpt from textbook published by the National Curriculum and Textbook Board. Photos: Kazi Tahsin Agaz Apurbo
This distorted version of history was studied by millions of students of Bengali-medium schools and Alia madrasas for over eight years. When the AL-led government won the ninth general election, one of the first steps they took was to change the textbooks. The government also made some significant changes in the curriculum by introducing a new education policy which recognises “realising the spirit of the Liberation War” as a major goal of education. A new textbook titled “Bangladesh and Global Studies”—where a brief history of the Liberation War has been included—was introduced and made compulsory for students of all education systems. Bangabandhu's biography and his name as the proclamator of independence have been reinstated. And, to no one's surprise, Ziaur Rahman's name has been eliminated from all the textbooks.
According to curriculum specialist and historian Dr Mamtaz Uddin Patwary, Professor of Bangladesh Open University, “The great history of Bangladesh's Liberation War has been tarnished by these practices. Even during his reign, Ziaur Rahman never claimed himself as the one to proclaim independence. Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman is the founding father of Bangladesh's liberation movement and during the war Ziaur Rahman was nothing more than one of the many sector commanders. It is outrageous to present him in the textbooks as comparable to Bangabandhu.”
“Those who participated in the Liberation War and fought against the Pakistan army have already secured their places in our national history. We cannot change their positions. Our Liberation War should not be a part of party politics; it should be respected as an honoured part of our national history,” he adds.
Adding to Bangladesh's failure to teach its youth a consistent historical narrative on the nation's liberation struggle is the fact that we have educational mediums which do not pay much attention to national history. More than 1.4 million students of around 14,931 Qwami madrasas do not study the history of 1971 at all. In these institutions, all of which are beyond the purview of government monitoring, Bangladesh's history is taught only up to grade five. And, in their books, which are printed by publishers enlisted by Befaqul Madarisil Arabia Bangladesh (Qwami Madrasa Education Board), the history of 1971 is full of distortion.
Excerpt from textbook published by the National Curriculum and Textbook Board. Photos: Kazi Tahsin Agaz Apurbo
In the history book of grade five, an essay titled “Shadhin Bangladesh er jonmo” (Birth of an independent Bangladesh) has been recently included in 2016 after much debate on Qwami Madrasa's reluctance to teach the history. In history textbooks published in 2014, Ziaur Rahman was mentioned as the sole proclamator of independence. However, in face of criticism, they changed it to “Ziaur Rahman proclaimed independence on behalf of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman”, although the High Court passed a verdict in 2009 stating that Bangabandhu is the only proclamator of independence. In addition, in the books of grade three and four, there is a chapter on the birth of India and Pakistan but there is not a single line about our liberation. Maulana Mahfuzul Haque, Joint Secretary General, Befaqul Madarisil Arabia Bangladesh, says, “We have already incorporated some corrections. We are now very busy with the organisational reformations after the recognition of our Taqmeel degree. After these reformations, we will also edit our textbooks.”
On the other hand, the history of 1971 is also ignored in the curriculum of English medium schools. History is taught in every grade of these schools, but Bangladesh is almost absent in the subject's textbooks. Most of these schools teach history books approved either by Edexcel or Cambridge Education board. The primary grade book published by Cambridge, called “Children's World History Bangladesh Edition”, does not include any chapter related to 1971. The third part of this book, taught in grade four and five, only includes a chapter on the Language Movement titled, “An important issue: the Language Movement”, three other chapters on medieval ruler Isa Khan, Sufi saint Hazrat Shah Jalal (RA) and ancient scholar Atisha Dipankar. However, the book includes 12 other chapters on Indian and European history.
From grade six to O level, the schools teach a history book titled “Human Heritage: A World History” which excludes the history of Bangladesh and its liberation, although it has comprehensive chapters on ancient Roman wars, crusades, Napoleonic wars and so on. On the other hand, the history books approved by Edexcel do not include any chapter related to Bangladesh let alone the war. For these students, the only source of learning about 1971 is the 10-page essay on Bangladesh's independence struggle that has been included in the first chapter of the “Bangladesh and Global Studies” textbook.
According to Khairul Bashar, principal of Cardiff International School, “At present, English medium schools are teaching 'Bangladesh and Global Studies' up to grade eight. But in the O levels, guardians and students actually chose their subjects and unfortunately Bangladesh Studies is not on their priority list. However, if they want, they can take the course and continue it in their O levels.”
Excerpt from textbook published by the National Curriculum and Textbook Board. Photos: Kazi Tahsin Agaz Apurbo
Despite the inclusion of “Bangladesh and Global Studies” in all streams of education, the improvements have been far from adequate. According to Dr Mamtaz Uddin Patwary, teachers who teach the history of the Liberation War must be trained properly. “History is an analytical subject and it should be taught very carefully as historical events can have multiple interpretations. In our schools and colleges, history graduates do not teach history and those who teach do not know how to teach it. For this reason, our students are learning a distorted, false history and are becoming desensitised about national heritage,” he says.
“Besides teaching the authentic history of our liberation, we should also teach the history of preceding events such as the partition of the Indian subcontinent, the Language Movement, the six point movement, the mass revolution of 1969 and all the related events even in the post-71 era,” he adds.
Eminent historian Muntasir Mamun further suggests, “A course on Bangladesh's national history and the Liberation War should be made compulsory up to the higher secondary level. And research facilities to conduct objective research on the war should be established in universities.”
In 2021, Bangladesh will celebrate its 50th year of independence. It is really unfortunate that even after 46 years, the history of our liberation is a contentious topic among its own people. As a result, many Bangladeshi youths like Rakib are still puzzled and many others are completely ignorant about their own history. If we cannot document the real, authentic history of our liberation through our textbooks, if we fail to disseminate the true spirit of the war through trained teachers, all our development efforts will be futile as the famous proverb says, “A nation which does not know what it was yesterday does not know where it is today.”

Pakistan: Government Shutters International Groups

CClosures Without Recourse Will Harm Ordinary Pakistanis.
The Pakistani government’s decision to shut down at least 10 organizations without providing valid reasons violates rights to freedom of expression and association, Human Rights Watch said today. Organizations affected include prominent groups working on human rights, humanitarian assistance, and development issues.
On December 14, 2017, several international nongovernmental organizations (INGOs), including Open Society Foundations and ActionAid, told the media that they had received letters from the federal government rejecting their applications for registration. The government has not published the list of affected groups, but according to media reports, none have been provided with reasons for the decision.
“The Pakistani government’s closure of international organizations without allowing these decisions to be contested shows disturbing disregard for the well-being of ordinary Pakistanis who benefit from them,” said Brad Adams, Asia director. “The government should be facilitating the vital work of independent groups, not obstructing it with intimidation tactics.”
The “Policy for Regulation of INGOs in Pakistan,” announced on October 1, 2015, contains vague and overly restrictive regulations that have harmed the work climate for many international groups. The regulations require all INGOs to register and obtain prior permission from the Ministry of Interior to carry out any activities in the country, and restrict their operations to specific issues and geographical areas. The ministry is broadly empowered to cancel registrations on grounds of “involvement in any activity inconsistent with Pakistan’s national interests, or contrary to Government policy”—terms that have vague meanings and can be used for political reasons to target critical organizations or individuals.
Pakistan’s government has the responsibility to prevent fraud, financial malfeasance, and other illegal activities by INGOs, but Pakistan already has other laws and regulations that address such concerns. The INGO regulations severely restrict rights to freedom of association and expression for Pakistanis working for INGOs, as well as for foreign nationals. These rights are protected under the Pakistani constitution and international human rights law. International groups make significant contributions to Pakistan in safeguarding and promoting health, nutrition, education, sanitation, food security, and the rule of law and human rights, among many other areas. International humanitarian and development organizations working in Pakistan employ thousands of Pakistanis, contribute hundreds of millions of US dollars to the national economy, and, working alongside their local partners, reach an estimated 20 million Pakistanis with assistance and services every year.
Under the regulations, all international organizations are required to obtain permission in advance from a government “INGO committee” chaired by the secretary of the Ministry of Interior before carrying out any activity in Pakistan. The committee has the power to rescind that permission at any time, for vaguely defined reasons.
The regulations provide for a right of appeal only on decisions by the INGO committee to cancel registration. The appeals process, to a Special Ministerial Committee, will be final, denying the groups any recourse through an independent judicial process. The Pakistani government should revise the policy for INGOs so that it does not contravene the rights to freedom of expression and association, and cannot be misused for political reasons to restrict the peaceful activities of nongovernmental organizations.
“The recent action against nongovernmental organizations comes amidst a shrinking space for free expression and dissenting voices,” Adams said. “Placing arbitrary restrictions on international groups is likely to increase the climate of fear for domestic organizations.”

Sexual abuse at Islamic Madrassa - Fear, shame preserve silence of abuse by clerics in Pakistan

By Kathy Gannon

It began with sweets and pocket money when he was 10 years old — special attention from the religious cleric who ran the Pakistani madrassa, or Islamic school, the boy attended.
And it escalated to rape and months of sexual abuse, the now 28-year-old young man says.
“I feel rage now when I think after he raped me he took a bath and right away he left to lead the prayers,” the man, an economist who lives in Islamabad, told The Associated Press. “After that I came to know from three or four of my classmates that the mufti used to do the same with them.”
Speaking English, at times searching for the right words and at others apologizing for the explicitness of his conversation, he described the cleric’s advances: how he took him to another mosque that was not associated with the madrassa the boy attended and then raped him.
He said he suppressed memories of the abuse for years, but after reading an AP report last month revealing widespread abuse by clerics in Pakistan’s thousands of madrassas, they all came tumbling back.
“I read the story two times. The first time I was shocked. The things that were written there were everything I had lived. The second time I read it, the whole of my body was trembling because of the memories it brought back,” said the man, speaking on condition of anonymity, not only because of the shame he felt nearly two decades later but because he feared Pakistan’s religious leaders could retaliate against him either with violence or charges of blasphemy or being an apostate, both of which, he said, were tantamount to a death sentence.
He decided to approach his former classmates, to rally survivors of abuse to band together to speak out. But, he said, he was rebuffed, and firmly. “They said ‘Stop talking. This is not something to discuss.’ It is so common in the madrassas here, but people don’t want to talk about it. We are ashamed,” the young man said. There are more than 22,000 registered madrassas in Pakistan, and many thousands of unregistered ones, often grimy one- or two-room facilities in remote villages. The millions of students they teach are often among the country’s poorest, who receive food and an education for free.
But at the madrassa this young man attended — one of the largest in the Pakistani capital, which attracted students from other parts of the country — many of his fellow students were, like himself, from middle- and upper-middle class families, “sent to the madrassa to win favor for the family from God,” he said.
Naeema Kishwar, a federal lawmaker who last year helped change Pakistan’s laws to close a legal loophole that had allowed those who commit so-called “honor killings” to escape punishment, said that laws exist to tackle sexual abuse of minors, which she called a scourge in Pakistan, not only in madrassas but in public schools, at home and among the army of child workers who are employed in homes as domestic workers and in factories.
“Of course, it is the responsibility of the federal government to prevent abuse of children, but you must keep it in your mind that provincial governments are equally to be blamed for being unable to stop child abuse at all places, including private and government schools and madrassas,” she said. “This is a common problem.”
But Kishwar who is a member of the religious Jamaat-e-Ulema-e-Islam, a pro-Taliban party, took umbrage with a focus on sexual abuse in the madrassas. Her party operates thousands of religious schools. But like the clerics who dominate her party, Kishwar, despite data and evidence to the contrary, said the incidents of abuses in religious seminaries were isolated.
Taha Siddiqui, a prominent Pakistani blogger and journalist, who has come under attack by the military and intelligence agencies in Pakistan for his outspoken commentaries, said the AP report was widely shared on social media, whereas the mainstream media stayed mostly silent. He blamed fear among the mainstream media of antagonizing the country’s religious leaders and because sex, even if it involves abuse, is a taboo subject.
“Such topics rarely get any coverage on national television channels. And for that reason, there were discussions on social media which were much more encouraging,” he said.
Two-time Oscar winner Sharmeen Obaid, whose documentaries have given a voice to victims of acid attacks and “honor killings” in Pakistan, retweeted the story.
Sherry Rahman, a senator in Pakistan’s upper house of Parliament and a close ally of Pakistan’s slain leader, Benazir Bhutto, tweeted: “This is a subject we need to talk about so our children are better protected. Sexual abuse of children is pervasive at many levels of society across the class divide. We must give courage and hope for victims to speak out. “
Raza Rumi, a Pakistani journalist and policy analyst, who moved to the United States after surviving an assassination attempt by members of the militant Lashkar-e-Janghvi group, tweeted: “This had to be said. For too long we have avoided confronting such brutalities. . . End #child #abuse in #Pakistan.”
But there were also virulent attacks, said Siddiqui. Some accused those who criticized madrassas of blasphemy, while others said it was a Western conspiracy to defame Islam.
Says the young economist and abuse survivor: “In Pakistan the mullahs have two weapons__ they can declare you an apostate or charge you with blasphemy. Both are a certain death sentence.”

#APSPeshawar - #Pakistan - #APS: three years on

IT is an attack that shook Pakistan to the core; a date that will live in infamy.
Three years ago today, the Army Public School terrorist attack in Peshawar claimed 141 lives, including 132 schoolchildren.
There have been attacks before and since the APS attack that have been shocking and vile: the Benazir Bhutto assassination, church bombings, market bombings, mosque bombings, hotel bombings, attacks on airport, police and security agencies, massacre of Hazaras — all wreaking terrible havoc and leaving deep scars across the country.
The monstrousness of the APS attack, however, almost defies understanding.
A very large number of children killed in a school is a country on the verge of failure that nobody can deny. The attack unleashed a wave of revulsion and galvanised public opinion against terrorists and militants. Operation Zarb-i-Azb, launched six months earlier, was intensified. In an unfortunate spirit of vengeance, the moratorium on the death penalty was lifted.
A constitutional amendment to give military courts the power to try civilian terrorism suspects was forced through parliament. Perhaps most significantly in the long term, the National Action Plan was drawn up and unanimously approved by the country’s political leadership. A page was supposed to have been turned.
Three years later, did APS truly mark a decisive turn against extremism, militancy and terrorism? Sadly, the spirit of the victims of APS has not been honoured.
While Pakistan is generally more stable and secure than it has been in a number of years, the fight against extremism envisaged in NAP has gone nowhere. Drawn up hastily after the APS attack, NAP was more a statement of intent than a detailed guide to fighting and defeating extremism in the country. But it is important because it reflects a national consensus and was the first time an attempt was made to define and systematically confront the threat of extremism in the country.
Today, while some forms of militancy and terrorism have been diminished, the extremist threat is arguably greater than it has ever been.
The failure is total and collective — civil and military, provincial and federal. Whether out of fear, incompetence, complicity or a combination of all three, the state has allowed extremism in society to fester. There will be no final victory against terrorism in Pakistan unless extremism is also defeated.
Honour the memory of the children of Army Public School; confront and defeat extremism.

#APSPeshawar - #Pakistan - #NAP — resting in peace?

The time to try on different terror narratives for size is through. What Pakistan needs are results. Of the tangible kind.
Up until now what we have had is a discourse of deflection. This has centred on commending the resilience of those who somehow managed to survive where terrorists would rather see them slaughtered. From Malala to the children of the APS massacre. We need to stop focusing on their bravery. The latter didn’t sacrifice their lives for this country. For the simple reason that they did not consent to have their bodies riddled with bullets. No, they had their lives violently taken.
The only hope to come out of the murder of some 130 school children was the way in which the state came together from across the political divide to not only talk the talk on terror — but to also walk the walk. By and large that was a defining moment when the entire country came together and expected the state to finally act. Even though some circles seized upon this tragedy to underscore their cynicism. The children of Pakistan Army officers, they crowed, are worth more than the children of FATA who are being bombed by US drones. And while there might be some truth in this given that the US was invited by the state apparatus to rain down their bullets in Pakistan’s tribal areas — the sad reality remains that if children at a military school are not safe, then none of our children are. No matter how secure our nukes.
So, we — the whole country — backed the 20-point roadmap by way of endorsing the National Action Plan (NAP). Yet fast-forward to today and the state appears weaker than ever before. Yes, the military has cleaned up many areas in the northwest and flushed out the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), with the latter having regrouped in Afghanistan. Sure, we have seen the reintroduction of the death penalty as well special military-run trial courts. Yet we have also witnessed the strengthening of extremist forces; many of which don’t even need bombs and bullets to ensure that their will is done. Indeed, we have all seen just how easy it was for the latter to get a certain law minister’s head on a stick.
And all the while is our security apparatus is working overtime to parade before the nation certain ‘reformed assets’. When not busy with this — it is occupied with its much-touted militant-mainstreaming project. On the basis that the only way to curb such outfits is to have their positions moderated. And that this means having them face the people at the ballot box. Thus we have seen two particularly questionable groups contest local by-elections on equal footing with political parties. In other words, throwing into question the NAP’s commitment to its own mandate of banning the glorification of terrorists, outlawing militant outfits operating in the country and ensuring an end to religious extremism and protection of minorities.
And we still wonder why Pakistan isn’t winning this ‘war.’

#APSPeshawar - #Pakistan - Maa Rona Mat (Sad Song on Peshawar Attack)

#APSPeshawar - #Pakistan - Dear APS Martyrs, It Didn’t Take Us Long To Forget You. But Please Do Forgive Us

The December 16 massacre was more than lachrymator for every Pakistani and the rest of the world. They spilled blood of the uncut diamonds, that clotted in the eyes of every Pakistani.
We reacted to the massacre on different outlets with one tagline “We will never forget you – the smallest coffins are the heaviest”. And among us the biggest sympathy was shown by Khan saab by halting his sit-in.
The overcoming of sectarian split, keeping aside the political differences by all parties, harmony of the federating units and positive journalism around the APS massacre, declared 16 December as the Black Day in the history of Pakistan.
The unification of our polarized society, which was acting as a single unit and in lieu of their ethnicity or religious affiliations, led to collective protests and urgesfor government and military to retaliate massively against terrorism.
Therefore, it was an unequivocal vow for the obliteration of terrorism from roots, due to the emergence of national integration inclusive of every Pakistani.
This spark had given them the push to go for strenuous actions. And it looked as though we would be able to lift the weight off the victims’ parents’ shoulders.
Some chinks might have remained in our solidarity because within a very short period of time after the massacre, which could not have been more than a week, we had forgotten our tagline “we will never forget you”.
There was a staged matinee – I apologize for calling the protest of Jibran Nasir in wake of MaulanaAbdul Aziz’s contentious statement on the APS attack as such. Media coverage and talk shows discourses diverted and bogged down the issue in the futile clash between these two groups.
This matinee transformed the tragedy of APS and acted as an anticoagulant and lent us a hand in shedding the retained blood clot of small coffins in our eyes. Therefore, after a very short time of national integration, our pretext of solidarities once again recrudesced.
The time called for an effective counter-terror action instead of a weak-kneed National Action Plan. Therefore, on every anniversary we can only apologise to our innocent ascended souls like.
Dear ascended stars, we regretted for not maintaining your remembrance for a long enough time. We are busy in our own interests and aren’t able to a lift the weight off your parents’ shoulders.
We promised that you will never be forgotten, but there was oblivion after the very first week –please forgive us.
We bawled that your blood is clotted in our eyes and will never be shed before shedding the blood of terrorists, but we washed out our eyes quickly instead of pouring out what was necessary on the draft documents of policymakers – pleaseforgive us.
In your memories, December 16 is celebrated as a Black Day for you and your parents, instead of a Black Day for terrorists –please forgive us.
But dear ascended souls, you could breathe a sigh of relief because we have created songs with amazing rhymes in your memories.

#APSPeshawar - #Pakistan - Three years on, painful memories still haunt families of #APS martyrs

By Asad Zia

Three years on, relatives of the young martyrs of the Army Public School (APS) Peshawar still look for closure as the painful memories of the loved-ones they lost on that fateful day are yet to fade.
They have constantly been demanding of the government to order a judicial inquiry into the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) attack on December 16, 2014 in which around 150 people – mostly young students – were massacred by terrorists.
Tufail Tariq is an eyewitness to the attack, who lost his two brothers. On the eve of the third anniversary of the attack, Tariq shared with The Express Tribune the painful memories that “linger with us”. Tufail’s brothers, Nangyaal and Shamwal, students of 9th and 8th grades respectively, were among the 132 pupils slain by the heartless enemy. “The incident of APS destroyed us,” he says.
Their father, Tariq Khan, is still in shock and the family seeks justice. “My two children were martyred while the remaining three are traumatised,” he told The Express Tribune. Tufail was in the 7th grade. He could be promoted to 8th grade in three years. “Tufail suffers from the mental trauma and left the school,” Tariq Khan said. “My second son fell ill due to shock,” he added.
But the greatest of all the predicaments for the father of the martyrs was that he had to be strong to be able to console other family members. “As an elder of the family, I couldn’t cry [in front of the family]. I showed them that I’m a strong person but actually [I was not] I cried when I was alone.”

Tufail said that December 16 is very difficult day for his family, “We cannot face this day, the memoires of my brothers would not fade,” he said, adding that since that incident, “I hardly go to school”.
APS, trauma, and the scars that never heal.
He continued, “I dropped my younger brother at the gate of school [three years ago]. I don’t have the courage to cross the gate and enter the school again. The APS attack destroyed my life. I have no friends to share my dreams with.”
“Sometimes my grief is overcome by anger… sometimes, I think of joining a group and take revenge for my brothers [murder],” he said.
Like many other aggrieved families, Tariq wants closure.
“We do not want anything from the government. We [just] request the government and the Pakistan Army to investigate the attack, form a judicial inquiry and provide justices to the victim families.”

#APSPeshawar - #Pakistan - Pakistan - Bilawal Bhutto pays glowing tributes to #APS Peshawar martyrs

Chairman Pakistan Peoples Party Bilawal Bhutto Zardari has paid glowing tributes to the innocent martyred students and teachers of Army Public School, Peshawar saying that they sacrificed their lives and awakened the conscience of the entire nation.
In a tweet on the 3rd martyrdom anniversary of APS students and teachers, the PPP Chairman said “3 years after the #APS tragedy we continue to fail the victims. Failed to conduct the judicial inquiry their families demanded. Failed to implement #NAP. Failed to ensure such an incident would never happen again, not on our watch. We can do better. A #PPP govt will.”
In his message on the occasion released from Media Cell Bilawal House, the PPP Chairman pointed out that some individuals at the helm of affairs are forgetting the sacrifices of APS Peshawar but children of Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto continue to share this haunting grief.
Bilawal Bhutto Zardari said he sees his own mother in every mother whose children were martyred three years ago. He further said that his mother Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto had laid down her life for our nation and pledged that he would stand as heir to every drop of blood of our martyrs.
PPP Chairman said that terrorists who mercilessly martyred children of our mothers would be continued to be challenged vigorously adding that these mothers are still raising questions as to who was nourishing the nurseries of terrorism.
Bilawal Bhutto Zardari said that who else would raise voice against terrorism if not the son of Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto adding those who have saddled their sons in the safe environs of London cannot be sympathizers of the nation.
PPP Chairman further said that we are very much on the ground despite giving sacrifices of two generations vowing that we are children of martyrs and would remain with our people through thick and thin.
He said that he considers himself as the son of every mother who lost her son whether in uniform or otherwise in incidents of terrorism.

#APSPeshawar - #Pakistan - Bilawal laments inaction after APS tragedy Listen

Pakistan People's Party (PPP) chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari thinks the country has failed to implement the  National Action Plan that was devised  following  the attack on Peshawar's Army Public School (APS).
In his message on the the third anniversary of APS attack, the   PPP chairman said in tweet,  "3 years after the #APS tragedy we continue to fail the victims. Failed to conduct the judicial inquiry their families demanded. Failed to implement #NAP. Failed to insure such an incident would never happen again, not on our watch. We can do better. A #PPP govt will."

Over 140 people , most of them children, were martyred  when terrorists raided the Army Public School on December  16, 2014.