Mohammed Hanif in the New York Times:
According to our security analysts, the massacre of students and teachers at Bacha Khan University in Charsadda on Wednesday proves that we are winning against terrorism.
A month before that, Pakistan marked the first anniversary of the Army Public School attacks in Peshawar, where more than 140 people, the vast majority of them students, were slaughtered by the Taliban. Most were in their early teens. Never again, we said then. Parliament gave the military all the powers it wanted, and Pakistanis vowed to eliminate the killers of our children.
We marked the anniversary by honoring the dead and giving memorial shields to their parents. We put lots of flowers and candles around the young students’ pictures. Newscasters on television dressed up in the school’s uniform to express solidarity. The Pakistani Army’s public relations department released a music video with students waving flags and raising fists. The singing students pledged not only to defeat the Taliban, but also to educate the enemy’s children in revenge.
The army, however, did not answer the one question the parents of the dead students have been asking for more than a year: Who is responsible for the security of the children in a school managed by the army itself? Instead it released slickly edited music videos.
This year was declared the year that terror will end. Safe havens have been bombed into oblivion. Terrorists have been hanged and the rest are waiting for their turn, we are told. Hours after the attack in Charsadda, the Pakistani Army’s spokesman told the nation that Operation Zarb-e-Azb, its sweeping antiterrorism campaign, has been a success and the “results are there for everyone to see.”
Security experts, a group likely to find a silver lining in hell, say that the Taliban are targeting schools because these are soft targets – and that this is proof the Taliban have been weakened and can no longer attack cantonments or airports. Apparently, we are supposed to take solace in the slaughter of our children because our cantonments and airports are safe.