17 Dec 2014

‘Does Islam allow this?’ Peshawar massacre: a father’s story

We spent much of yesterday at Channel 4 News trying to get hold of our friend and former colleague Mushtaq Yusufzai in Peshawar. Late last night he finally posted the following on Facebook:

Pakistan school massacre (Reuters)

It was the most difficult day of my career.

I was sitting in a function when someone was calling from my home number. I had to cut three times, but the call was coming constantly. When I received the call, I was told that Daniyal’s, my son’s school has been attacked.

I remained silent and didn’t know what to say in reply as, I knew about the outcome of such attacks on schools.

I managed to control my emotions and started praying for safety of all the children including my two sons. I was calling their driver but could not trace him.

I got worried and panicked. Left for the school but was constantly calling the driver. After two hours of efforts I finally spoke to him. He seemed nervous and asked me to immediately arrive there and search the two kids.

I don’t know how did I get this strength as sometimes I was going to collapse, I would console myself. Then I had to receive phone calls from home, family members and friends, all worried about the children and their safety.

The driver then managed to take them through another route and was calling me to collect them. Like many other parents, I stuck in the traffic and spent five hours in the car.

They finally arrived before the evening. I have heard many tragic stories from war victims but when today they started recalling the horrible story and their experience in the school under siege, I had no courage to listen to them.

I left them at home and went to the hospital, and there I felt the pain as if all of them were my children. There I was not alone to cry at their bodies.

Its 2:15am now, and I just returned from the Lady Reading Hospital and CMH Peshawar where most of the victims of the APS (Army Public School) were shifted.

I don’t have the courage to explain the painful scenes of how parents, sisters and relatives of these innocent school children were crying with their bullet-riddled bodies there.

Many people didn’t have family members and relatives among the victims, but it seemed as if every one of them had lost a close family member. None of them could control their emotions. Does Islam really allow this, I asked myself.

Sher Shah

I don’t know how I should say that my best friend Tufail a Khan lost his dearest elder son Sher Shah in today’s bloodiest attack on the Army Public School in Peshawar. It’s a huge loss for him and us.