We owe to APS martyrs

IT was on Dec 16, 2014 that the little stars of APS (Army Public School), Peshawar were denied to fulfil their dreams by the terrorists. Some educators, representing the best in child mentorship, also embraced the martyrdom in a bid to save their students. Third anniversary of the attack on APS was marked on Saturday with recalling of the horrible tragedy that claimed one hundred and thirty two little souls — an incident which in fact moved the entire world.
In his statement on the occasion of anniversary, both civilian and military leadership while paying glowing tributes to the APS martyrs very rightly stated that the sacrifices rendered by the young ones have not gone in vain and the country’s improving law & order situation is owed to them. Indeed it was after this tragic incident that the entire nation got further united against terrorism and the political leadership chalked out the National Action Plan (NAP) that over the years has been successful in restoring peace in the country. The success of NAP can be gauged from the fact that number of terrorist incidents have reduced substantially over the last three years. But it is not time to be complacent and the best tribute to the APS martyrs will be the day when we will be able to completely rid the country of extremism and terrorism and for this only security related operations are not enough. As also stated by Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbassi in his message, the tree of extremism will have to be cut from which the poisonous fruit of terrorism grows. There is no denying the fact that tendencies such as intolerance and extremism have permeated in our society- something that is being exploited by our enemy to destabilise the country. It is time that our civilian and military institutions, intellectuals, writers, poets, religious scholars and the media fulfil their responsibilities and sit together to prepare a counter narrative against extremism — the one that promotes interfaith and religious harmony and tolerance. With this the terrorist groups and their abettors will not find the necessary fuel to pursue their bloodletting agenda. The government needs to strongly come out and encourage a dialogue towards that end amongst different segments of the society in order to make the country cradle of permanent peace and stability.

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