Pakistani nationals living in South Africa are devastated by the latest violence that has shaken their home country, watching the events unfolding with shock and horror. On Tuesday, 132 school children in Peshawar were killed in a brazen attack by the Pakistani Taliban (TTP). The Pakistan Association in South Africa has condemned the attack, calling on the Pakistani government to hang all Taliban prisoners as a warning to those involved in the recent attack.
The association’s Iqbal Javid says he fears for his daughter’s well being as she is now too afraid to go to school in Pakistan. The attack occurred in the morning as pupils geared up for the beginning of their school day. The TTP, who justified the attack by saying it was revenge for ongoing air-strikes on areas including northern Waziristan, warned civilians to distance themselves from security personnel or be killed alongside them. All 132 children killed in Tuesday’s attack are thought to have been between the ages of 12 and 16.
“My daughter is so fearful. We have never seen anything like this before in our lives. I am currently residing in Mitchells Plain but even though those who were killed on Tuesday are not blood relatives, I feel as if I have lost family,” Javid said.
Fighting back the tears, Javid said the actions of the Taliban is could not be justified in any manner.
“This is not what Islam stands for. How can they kill innocent children? This is not what Islam teaches us.”
People from all around the world have lit candles in a vigil for the slain children while funerals are being held today across Peshawar, as families prepare to bury their children and the nine staff who were killed in the attack. Javid says he and many other Pakistani nationals in South Africa call on the Pakistani government to take aggressive action against the attack by the Taliban.
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif called a multi-party conference in Peshawar on Wednesday to discuss the state response to the attack, the worst in Pakistan’s recent history, which will be attended by leaders across the political spectrum. Javid said the death penalty in Pakistan could not have been brought back at a better time. He added that with the death penalty, the over 500 Taliban prisoners can now be handed down a harsher penalty for their extreme tactics and the innocent loss of life.
“We will be meeting shortly to discuss what we will be doing here in South Africa to raise awareness of the attack and also show our support to our family and friends back home,” Javid said.
The Aghan Taliban have even come out and condemned the recent attack by the TTP.
“The intentional killing of innocent people, children and women are against the basics of Islam and this criteria has to be considered by every Islamic party and government,” Afghan spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said in a statement.
The country has now called for a three day mourning period.VOC (Ra’eesah Isaacs)