December 16, 2014, a date which shall be remembered for all times to come, a date which etched the souls of many across the globe. Army Public School, Peshawar was attacked by Taliban and within a matter of hours, news and visuals of soul stirring carnage from the school started pouring in from all over.
Close to 200 lives have been lost; mostly students. Reactions from all across the nation have been strong, ranging from sorrow, anger, rage, sympathy and these reactions have been witnessed across the globe. Eyes across continents welled-up, each parent saw own children in Peshawar, vigils, messages of solidarity and prayers no matter which direction one looked. Screams of demanding justice, hanging the terrorists, action plan, counter-terrorism strategy, all being placed top priority and must be so.
Amid all this, an important facet must not be ignored. The victims of this barbaric attack were mostly students. Perhaps the only future livelihood for their families. Who is to know how they were to be an integral part of the society and contribute within their families, neighborhoods, communities, cities, provinces and Pakistan at large. Perhaps some may have been doctors, some engineers, some teachers, some artists. Who is to know? This is the future of Pakistan which has been attacked and undoubtedly, the vacuum which has been created is unfathomable. Who can say if we may have lost the future Sir Sattar Edhi of Pakistan? Each life has the power to influence in its own peculiar way and each life gone takes away that power to change the world in that peculiar way.
While those who are gone can only be prayed for, let us derive the courage and do our best to fill the vacuum which has been created. The future, as badly as it may have been affected, is in our hands. Close to 200 youngsters were on their way to acquire education to become responsible citizens and contribute to their families and this nation in their own peculiar way. They are no more. Can they be replaced? No. No one can be replaced for each one is special and unique. However, considering the number of children out of schools in Pakistan, can those (close to) 200 martyrs who are no longer in schools be replaced by 500 living children who are not attending school? Yes. This is most certainly possible.
Taimur Rehman a man whose heart beats for Pakistan, has taken an initiative in collaboration with Taba Foundation with the primary focus of putting out of school children on the path of receiving education. The schools Taba works with are located in Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. The initiative is comprehensive starting from contacting the parents and counseling them to send their children to school to funding for text books, material, uniform, tuition, etc. Overall cost for sending one child to school is Rs. 6,000/- per annum.
We, as a nation, should be proud of individuals like Taimur Rehman for being able to think in such directions and need to support such initiatives whole-heartedly. Come help secure our future.
A small note before ending this: Salam Martyrs of Army Public School, Peshawar, you seem to have brought us together like many of us had only wished for. You have been able to bring about the interfaith harmony, the interracial harmony which much efforts put together could not bring about. I salute you my Martyrs. It is a responsibility of each and every one of us to do justice to every drop of blood shed to at least bring tolerance and promote peace and co-existence. Start from our families and friends and let this grow till the extremists find it difficult to breath and are suffocated to death or find co-existence and love the only way to survive.
For updates/information on the initiative, kindly contact Taimur Rehman and follow Teach500 on Twitter.