We were in our classrooms Ammi. My favourite class of Geography was going on. But there was a bad news. Rafia ma’am told us that it was going to be her last class as she was getting married. We became sad. All of us loved her way of teaching. She never punished us. She was showing us Pakistan’s map when suddenly Rukhsaar Ma’am came rushing towards our class room door. She ordered Rafia Ma’am to close the door. “Wo aa gye hain” (THEY HAVE COME) all of my friends started whispering as suddenly everyone in the school started running and screaming! I was terrified ammi but Rafia ma’am told us ,”We will all be safe.Have faith in Allah.” We were told to hide under our classroom benches. We all obeyed her. Bullet sounds grew closer and it suddenly struck me that our Inaaya was so afraid of these things, ammi. She was scared of noises and fire-crackers. She would be horrified and crying for sure. “Bhai-jaan, hume ghar le chalo ” she cried during the last Diwali celebrations when I took her to my friend Avish’s home for Diwali celebrations, I remembered.
I immediately jumped outside the class window. Rafia ma’am shouted and told me to come back, I told her I was going to save Inaaya, my little sister and hurried towards her classroom, ammi. I could see some gun-men shooting at the sky. They didn’t see me, I hid myself. I ducked and somehow managed to find Inaaya’s class. Class ‘III-B’ written above the classroom , the door was locked. I ran to the other side of her classroom, the window side and I saw her through the window. She was crying badly. I wanted to go inside, but they had locked themselves and her teacher Insha ma’am told me to go hide somewhere. I did not go. I was there watching my helpless sister cry by herself. I wanted to keep her safe. I was thinking of how to get inside her class.
When suddenly something touched my neck. I turned around.It was the hand of a soldier. I freed myself from him as I did not want to go leaving Inaaya behind. Then, this happened. the people who looked like gunmen, having long beard pushed open the door of her class. They shot aimlessly at the ceiling, first. I shouted from the other side in resistance. They did not hear me. Finally Inaaya saw me. ” Bhai-jaan, le jao hume yaha se” ( BROTHER, TAKE ME AWAY”) were her exact words. I ran away from the army person who was trying to rescue me and searched for a stone to break open the window of her class.Then I rushed back.”Inaaya“, I shouted. No response. “Inaaya,suno” No one to be seen. I could not see any heads from the window now. I dared to go closer and then searched her class.
Her whole class turned into a graveyard. No children were screaming now, no teacher teaching, no one was punished, no one was hiding under those benches. Bullet sounds could still be heard but the gun men must have moved ahead as the voices became more distant. Finally, I entered her class. I found her amongst the river of blood. There she lay, her head torn from a bullet and her school dress red. I did not cry, ammi for Abbu always told me I was a strong man and I did not want to believe that she was gone. She wasn’t of-course!. She would again come in my room when I slept and make a cartoon with ink on my face and run away when I came to catch her. She will still be seated with me when we go back from the school bus and I would still protect her and fight and intimidate her classmates who pestered her. I kissed her cheeks.I remembered how we fought today and I did not apologise to her. How she always saved me from your wrath, ammi.” Bhai-jaan ko matt maaro,ammi” she said with a beautiful smile, everytime.
We had a fight today morning and I did not apologise. I don’t know if she’ll ever forgive me now.
I was hushed outside by the army-man even after my resistance but our Inaaya, ammi, she was still inside. I asked the soldier to please take her with us. And he replied that she was no more. How could he say that, Ammi? I saw her with my own eyes! She was there!I had just kissed her cheeks! Later today, she came back. People gathered to see her. They weren’t happy to see her. But she had come.
Only that her body now rested inside a coffin. I watched you and Abbu cry as I was told that only a handful of my classmates remain alive. I am crestfallen and don’t know where to hide my face as I could’ve brought her back. I failed. Please don’t ask me why I don’t talk and why I don’t want to go to the school anymore. I want to study,ammi but not in that school. Not anymore.
“Please forgive me Ammi, waapas ghar nhi laa saka aapki amanat. “
– Shakib ( a 6th grader who survived the Pehsawar attack)
Terrorists have again shown us that they are nothing but plain cowards. They attacked innocent children who went to study. Peshawar, today the world cries with you and we are there with you in this tough time. This too shall pass, and HUMANS will show you how high they can rise. As for now, these bullet holes cannot be fixed by any bandage in the form of compensation or fake promises. What is to be done should be better done than said.The world will find a way to answer you guys back. Suddenly people who haven’t read Quran start taking lives in the name of jihad .No religion advocates killing innocent people, that’s for sure. Stop the defamation.Your act of cowardice shows you jerks are not HUMANS and I’m sure each one of those kids will narrate whatever you’ve done to them to Allah. They were children seeking knowledge just like Malala whom you guys tried to deter. You see what you made her, right? She went on to win a Nobel peace prize. You’ll see thousand more of us fighting you guys back.“Schools must be safe and secure learning spaces. Getting an education is every child’s right. Going to school should not be an act of bravery.” – Ban-ki-Moon.