There is hardly anything one can think about nowadays except the attack on the Army Public School resulting in the death of 134 children and 12 teachers. I have not used the term ‘innocent children’ because I do not know of any child who is not innocent. Many had explained the attack on Malala Yusufzai in 2012 as a CIA or ISI sponsored one to malign the Taliban. I now wonder how the same folks justify the Peshawar school massacre. Some have alluded to Indian involvement without taking into account the Taliban themselves taking responsibility for the butchery.
We all can do little about the incident and thus feel helpless. All we can do is either to watch television or light candles in vigils. This is not even one of those things where we may try to materially help the families of the victims as most if not all are well to do and from the middle class. It is actually the people in power who can counter the Taliban narrative and eliminate this menace from our polity; the media has a role to play in this respect.
It is unfortunate that what we are experiencing since December 16 is a constant drift towards further violence, instead of fighting the menace of violence. The attention of the whole nation has deliberately been diverted to the hanging of the terrorists who were already confined in prison. The print and electronic media is giving the hangings major coverage as if these killings are the panacea to all our ills and problems. We all should understand that it is not.
We all need to become conscious about the prevalence of violence in our society and do something to counter it. Such sad incidents will keep happening in our country till we appreciate the futility of settling differences and disputes through violent means. I think no country in the world can compete with Pakistan when it comes to the availability of guns and related illicit ammunition. We are not doing anything about it. The tribal areas are territories where the laws of Pakistan do not extend and the police have no jurisdiction. The Government is failing to redress this important issue in any concrete manner. Violence will continue to persist in our midst until we succeed in integrating the tribal areas into Pakistan wholly.
All of us need to be made aware about the harmful effects of violence not only in our society but even in our home-settings. It is a known fact that most of the parents in Pakistan believe in the effectiveness of mild to moderate corporal punishment to discipline children. Many male members use violence against the females, whether wives, sisters or daughters. All tend to regard it as their right to be violent towards any kind of animal. In other words, violence and abuse starts from our own homes. Similarly, corporal punishment, sometimes, in extreme violent forms resulting in serious injuries and even death, is a regular feature in most of our schools, particularly the government ones. Children face variety of abuses, such as sexual abuse, along with women, and many a times, kidnapping which is now also common among the adults.
It is thus important to sensitize the society about all types of violence and abuse and how we all can avoid it. Parenting styles need to change. The prevalent patriarchal culture impacts roles of mother and their interaction with children. We should know that parents, and to an extent teachers, always act as role models for children, and their attitude and behavior lead to imbibing of similar values by the next generation.
Positive disciplining at home and school plays an important role. It determines positive parent-child and student-teacher relationships and also helps the child to adopt the life skills required to face the challenges of life.
We all should learn the importance of communication of thinking and feelings with each other, whether it is between spouses, parents and their children, students and their teachers, amongst siblings and even in the office environment.
We are not armed like the Taliban and the other militants and thus cannot directly fight with them. But we all can certainly impact our communities and the society in general by positive parenting and teaching in a constructive and facilitative atmosphere. We all should help others, if we know how, in preventing violence wherever we see it and by helping everybody to develop disciplining techniques which are not based on violence.