PESHAWAR: The 15-year-old Aitezaz Hassan Bangash is a hero. He laid his life on January 6 to save his Hangu schoolmates from falling victim to the devil designs of a suicide bomber.
Young Hassan did something that most of us, perhaps, would not even dare think about when a situation warrants. His parallel to none sacrifice is being eulogised by all except for some.
Foreign and local media has covered his valour with professional aplomb. Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has recommended his name to the President for conferment of Sitara-i-Shujaat on him.
Military authorities have also jumped in as well. Army chief sent in a representative to lay a wreath of flowers on the young hero’s last resting place and asked the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa chief secretary to recommend young Hassan for Sitara-i-Shujaat, ignoring that the same has already been done by the premier.
Senate has passed a resolution, recognising his and the bravery of Sindh police officer Chaudhry Aslam killed in a Karachi bomb blast on Thursday.
Malala Yousufzai, the internationally acclaimed peace and education activist from Swat, has reportedly announced Rs500,000 for Hassan’s family.
On a much larger scale, the young Bangash scion has become a household name. In family living rooms, friends’ gatherings, social networking sites, political conversations, people just can’t fail to recognise his service to humanity and bravery.
Are we missing here something in listing out praise, affection, recognition with which people and institutions have responded to acknowledge the young man’s courage in preferring death over spinelessness?
Yes, we are missing someone that is important because of its constitutional responsibility and moral obligation towards its people. Someone that is also important to directly serve an assurance to the young hero’s family, friends, and the whole of citizenry of Hangu and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, reminding them that there is somebody out there to feel their pain, shed tear on their loss, solace them in their difficult time, and stand bravely with them in a time when they need it the most.
The silence with which the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government has reacted to the young man’s courage or the carelessness with which it responded to the attack on the school is not so astonishing.
The provincial assembly offered belated prayers (on Friday) for both Hassan and the Sindh police officer. Had it not been the police officer’s tragic death in a violent Taliban attack, the assembly might not have opted to remember the young hero.
One can put this argument across with certain degree of confidence because the assembly did not pay attention to the Hangu school attack in its sittings held between Monday and Friday: the day the attack occurred and the day the prayers were offered.Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf and its major coalition partner Jamaat-i-Islami have over the past several months shown the tendency to protest and explode in condemnation only when a militant is killed in a US drone attack. They beat chest on every such occasion and term it a conspiracy to thwart peace prospects.
PTI chairman Imran Khan’s statement following the Sindh police officer’s murder did not come as a surprise either. The party’s stand towards militancy may not be in line with its own election manifesto, but it is consistent with its attempts to avoid confrontation with Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan.
There is a growing public perception that suggests the PTI leadership is frightened of challenging Taliban over their violence against humanity.
The party supporters might differ with the observation by citing Imran Khan’s recent participation in the polio vaccination campaign in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa as a reminder of going against Taliban.
However, Mr Khan’s participation in the vaccination campaign would have meant something really bigger if he had chosen to administer the polio vaccination drops to children in Peshawar or Swabi where the ruthless hands gunned down poor vaccinators in the recent. Instead, Mr Khan chose to administer drops to a grandson of his political ideologue Maulana Samiul Haq at a well guarded rural health centre at Akkora Khattak.
Governance requires a little more than rehashing old ideas to formulate forms and project them as a recipe for change. It also requires more than studying different laws to make a new regulation and claim it to be a new initiative. Laws are important. Equally important is the enforcement. Without strict and effective implementation good laws becomes a burden of history.
PTI has promised to ensure good governance. Its election manifesto serves as a sorry reminder of a document that has apparently lost meaning in today’s Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
PTI’s latest take on peace is well known. Peace cannot be established unless drone strikes are stopped. What if TTP does not agree to peace talks even if the drone strikes are stopped? TTP has already spoken its mind: its struggle is for the enforcement of Sharia in Pakistan, which means drone strikes are a secondary issue.
We can’t remind Chief Minister Pervez Khattak his role as a protector of the people of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. But, we can refer to his party’s election manifesto in which it clearly states that “PTI also recognises the scourge of terrorism and its devastating effect on Pakistan and its citizens.” Isn’t Aitezaz a victim of terrorism? Doesn’t he deserve justice? Shouldn’t we arrest the masterminds, who planned the ghastly attack on Hangu’s school?
These are the questions the answers to which are lost deep in PTI-led provincial government’s silence over the consistency with which terrorists have targeted people in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa since its taking office in June last.