Peshawar Schools under attack
The militants have once more demonstrated that the city of Peshawar is no longer safe. Incidents over the past few months have made it obvious the writ of state has vanished from the city. A spate of kidnappings, murders and attacks on shops selling CDs or video tapes make this obvious. To drive the point home, a band of militants has now attacked three leading private schools, torching buses and attempting to demolish the gate of one with a grenade. The choice of schools – two of them institutes for boys – would suggest the motive was to create panic and target the elite, rather than to shut down schools for girls as has happened across NWFP. Threats to elite schools have been made before, in Lahore, Islamabad and other cities. Nothing can be more terrifying for parents, and indeed other citizens, than the notion that their children are unsafe even at school. All three of the schools picked out by the militants were elite institutions. Four members of the staff were injured at one of the schools, two of them critically, while attempting to prevent the band of some 15 armed militants from entering the premises.
The message to city authorities has been sent out loud and clear. The militants have once more demonstrated an ability to strike at will. Psychologically they have also picked a manner to do so which is most likely to create terror. Security at schools in Lahore was stepped up on Tuesday in response to the terrible incident in Peshawar. Mercifully, no pupil was injured. But there is no guarantee that other attacks will not follow this one. The only way to stop them is to begin an all-out offensive against terrorists of all kinds. Only by doing so can we eradicate the fear that today walks alongside every citizen and now enters school alongside the children who attend these institutions.