The massacre of 142 people of which 132 were Pakistani children is absolutely inhumane. Many more are critically injured and we can expect to see the death toll rise. The devastation caused by the Taliban in Peshawar to the families of the victims is unimaginable.
'Good journalism' often says not to victimise events in war and conflict reporting. However, a conflict is a two exchange, this is not a conflict, this is the killing of innocent children which is inexcusable under any circumstances.
The news has sent shock-waves around the international community and has set off alarm bells in the Pakistani establishment. It is no secret that the Pakistani government has been fighting the Taliban for many years. The Taliban in Pakistan has previously demonstrated the lengths it is willing to go, so how was the Taliban allowed to enter a military controlled zone and brutally end the lives of innocent children?
The Taliban were quick to claim that the attack had been ordered on their command. A sickening proud sense of achievement echoed in the words of the Taliban when letting the world know they were behind the attack on the Peshawar school. The reasoning? Because Pakistani Military forces have been firing in Taliban controlled territories. This was an act of revenge, the majority of the students at the school were from military families and the Taliban felt killing them would provide some sort of satisfaction.
Speaking to an ex-student who attended the school from 2003-2006, he told me that the area was heavily guarded by the military and something of this nature was simply unheard of. He said thorough searches were carried out on all vehicles and only people with a permit were allowed to enter the restricted area. Expressing his shock and devastation to the attack he said: "Seeing pictures of children wearing exactly the same uniform as I did brings a lot of heartache to me, and my brothers and sisters who also studied there."
How can a severely controlled military area have allowed people to go into a school with young children and commit the atrocities they did? Pakistan has the 6th largest military in the world in terms of available military manpower and a very competent one as it has shown in the past. There are several questions to be asked of the Pakistani establishment and everything should be done to make sure nothing of this nature is ever repeated.
The standard of news coverage from yesterday's events in Pakistan is worrying. Many US broadcasters have highlighted this as an attack on education with reference to Malala Yousafzai, who was awarded a Nobel Peace Prize Award last week. It is easy to draw the inference, but also lazy journalism which seeks to reinforce stereotypical views. The attack was an action of revenge on the innocent children belonging to military families.
This is a time of mourning for the entire nation of Pakistan. We can only be left to imagine the trauma faced by the families of the victims. The horrific attacks have set emotions running high in the country and further conflict seems inevitable. Pakistan must go on and do everything possible to defeat the Taliban and make sure nothing even remotely similar to this happens ever again, however, sustainability in such circumstances is always difficult. The Pakistani government have reacted quickly in launching attacks on the Taliban, but this is simply 132 dead school children too late.