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“From there to here” By: Izza Afzal

You left a void in our hearts that isn’t easy to fill. Even after a year, there is an ache in our souls that refuses to go away whenever we think of your innocent souls lost in the battle of power, politics and never-ending religious intolerance.

It seems that we Pakistanis are forever at war with ourselves, more than the forces of evil trying to destroy us. A year ago, we saw one of the most brutal attacks in the history on Army Public School, Peshawar, and yet, that hasn’t dissuaded us from becoming exactly what we hate. We hate the Taliban for wanting to impose a regime on us through violence and coercion, a regime that we do not support nor want in Pakistan. Even so, we continue to persecute minorities with vicious attacks and slandering insults, going as far as banning them from public spaces. Our prejudice towards those we consider wrong is acceptable for us, and still we ‘hate’ the Taliban for doing the same to us.

The attack on APS, Peshawar was an attack on the freedom of our children’s right to an education. Those brave, young souls showed immense courage and resilience and went to school the next day despite all the horror they’d been through. What we refuse to see is that those little humans were standing up against extremism in the most basic and peaceful of ways, and that is how we must fight extremism too. By pulling it out by it’s roots, changing our ways, and becoming more tolerant to the minorities in Pakistan. We must show the compassion and give people the freedom we want for ourselves, so that we may put an end to all sorts of extremism in Pakistan.
The Pakistan of Quaid-e-Azam and Allama Iqbal was built on the principle of tolerance. We were once a minority trying to escape the oppression and atrocities we faced in British India. Before we can eradicate extremism from Pakistan, we must bring changes in our attitude and become more tolerant. Only then will we have achieved the founders dream and present a united front against anyone who wishes to question our country’s sovereignty.

By: Izza Afzal

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Youth As Bird Of Paradise
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