The city of Schools Bleeds
By: Ibrar Hussain Turi
It goes without saying that on May 04, 2023, candle of enlightenment quenched when an atrocious mob laid siege to a school at Tari Mengal, Parachinar, killing seven people, mostly teachers in a heinous way. In fact, it was an attackover the entire education system of Pakistan and a death blow to the writ of govrnment and law enforcement authorities.
Parachinar is the capital city of district Kurram, formerly known as “Tutki”, situated in the lap of “Koh-e-Sufaid” (white mountains) on a neck of Afghan border. It is a part of erstwhile FATA, merged with Khyber Pakhtunkhwa under twenty fifth amendment to the constitution. The region is predominantly inhabited by Turi and Bangash tribes along with few others. Besides its natural beauty, the Land of Chinars, is known for education and hospitality. It enjoys highest literacy rate like some other parts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa- even in terms of women education. In addition, it is an emerging spot for tourists coming from different regions of Pakistan.However, the area is not free from the chains of hardships. The district has witnessed barbarous incidents of bloodletting over the years dating back to 2007.Earlier from November, 2007 to 2011, the main Thall-Parachinar road connecting the district to the rest of Pakistan remained blocked by the Taliban militants. The inhabitants of Parachinar—-Turi and Bangash, have always been an emblem of peace, harmony, and a source of resistance against non-state actors.Despite the fact, they have had a long history of persecution and oppression over the years. Meanwhile, some elementsinhabitaing mainly lower and central parts of the district have always been a tool at the hands of terrorists or other proscribed organizations.
This is a key factor in shattering the region’s peace. Hence, it will be no wrong to say that the region has no rift of sectarian nature contradicting the myth established on bloody skirmishes back in thepost- global war on terror era. The current incident also traces back to earlier conflicts. In the first week of May, an armed mob entered a school at Tari Mengal where they fired a volley of shots in the heads of humans leaving seven martyred including teachers in the broad day-light. Earlier, they were tortured mercilessly and inhumanly. The innocent instructors were performing their duties for the last few years. It was not only the death of guides but dismantlement of the entire education system of the country. The incident was reported as a result of revenge for personal enmity or sprout over land dispute. Nevertheless, the claim made by authorities is baseless because the victims of the carnagehail from the scatteredareas of Parachinar. The fact thus illustrates that it was neither a result of tit for tat nor a land dispute. It was an act of terrorism with the blatant involvement from the side of locals of Tari Mengal.On one hand, such incidents can ignite the flames of terror across the district while on the other hand, the nascent peace would be unable to change itself into a long-lasting one. Such type of incursions would wreck havoc in length and breadth of the country and every hope of peace would be cowed into ugly fracas.
“It is better to light a candle than to curse the darkness.”
In the aftermath of the incident, the people of the land are on the roads mourning the slain educators. The locals staged demonstrations across Parachinar and later extended to other cities of the country.They demand a fair trial of those involved in the brutality. The “Tari Mengal”incident is a test case for the local administration in general and government in particular. The state must take immediate measures to prevent the soil form slipping into troubled waters. Likewise, the incident of Army Public School, Peshawar, the authorities must deal the matter on an equal footing punishing those responsible for this massacre. From the very first day of the sad tragedy, the elders along with the residents of Parachinar chanting for speedy justice and demanding strict action against the inflictors. People across the country want government to put a lid on the issue to prevent it from becoming aggravated.
Keeping in view the past of the locality; the state machinery, law of the land and concerned sections of the people, must come to the fore to put an end to the bizarre situation.So, the thing is succinct that sincere efforts on the part of government would pave way for the establishment of everlasting peace on the soil and can thrustKurram and Pakistan towards brighter future. Here the situation of the area give birth to some serious questions: Why the government is unable to take strict action against the haters of man kind? Why the spritual section ( Ulema )is silent over such incidents? Why NAP is not invoked here? These are those questions that can put an end to the curse of terrorism provided that the state pays heed to them.