Pakistan community in UAE tell of shock at school attack in Peshawar

One Pakistani expatriate was horrified when he took a call from his family to be told his best friend’s children had been killed in the attack.
Pakistani civil society members in Islamabad take part in a candle-light vigil for the victims of a school attack. Anjum Naveed / AP Photo
Pakistani civil society members in Islamabad take part in a candle-light vigil for the victims of a school attack. Anjum Naveed / AP Photo

ABU DHABI // Pakistani expatriates in the UAE spoke on Tuesday of their shock and grief.

Khair Mohammed, 30, a driver in Abu Dhabi, took a call from his family to be told his best friend’s children had been killed in the attack.

“I cannot imagine that those lovely children are no more. May Allah bless their souls. It is such a difficult time. I wish I could do something from here.” The Pakistani government must take decisive action to make the country safer, he said.

Daraz Khan, from Peshawar, said that even in the worst war situation, women and children had never been direct targets. “In my 60 years of life, I have heard and seen lots of wars and conflicts across the world. But I never imagined in my own country, terrorists would not spare the children.”

Wisal Ahmed, who also lives in Abu Dhabi, said: “Being a father of young kids, I can feel the pain and agony that this attack will have caused the parents.”

“The children going through this trauma may not be able to take this out of their mind throughout their lives,” Mr Ahmed said.

“Today it is black day for both Pakistani and Pakhtoon culture. We have lost a whole generation to this madness and I do not see any hope in the near future.”

Karim Afridi, 62, said it was the worst news he had heard in his life. “I never thought one day our children would be the direct victims in such a brutal war.

“I am so scared. Several of my family’s kids go to different schools on the same road.

“Within a week, after all of us were celebrating Malala’s Nobel Prize, the terrorists have converted all our joy into a lifetime of agony.”

The Pakistani ambassador to the UAE, Asif Durrani, said: “While the people of Pakistan have been bravely facing the scourge of the forces of extremism and terrorism for the past many years, today’s act has been condemned across the world.

“The Pakistani nation is resolute in countering the forces of obscurantism.”

Mr Durrani said the Taliban terrorists were cowards.

“The military operation launched by Pakistan in North Waziristan since June has unnerved terrorists to the extent that now they have resorted to cowardly tactics by killing innocent children.

“But they shall never succeed; the forces of sanity and moderation are bound to triumph.”

Javed Malik, the Pakistani ambassador at large, said those who attacked innocent civilians and children were enemies of humanity and must be condemned in the strongest possible words.

“The people of Pakistan are resilient and we continue our efforts to root out extremism in all its shapes and manifestations and build a strong, prosperous and stable Pakistan.”

Dr Faisel Ikram, of the Pakistan Association Dubai, said the Pakistani government had to take a stand against terrorism.

“We have to fight and finish the terrorists. Pakistani expatriates feel the same pain and stand by the nation.”

Aziz Khan, from Peshawar, whose family at home were unharmed, said: “The killing of innocent children in such a cruel way is not simply an act of terrorism, it is a direct attack on our roots.

“My family in Peshawar are harassed. We don’t know how can we save our children from these acts of terrorism. I am feeling so helpless here.”

Imran O Kazmi, a Pakistani writer and peace activist who lives in Dubai, said the only way to fight back against the root cause of such terrorist acts was through education. “Suffice to say that humankind, forget Muslims or any other faith, cannot be associated with the acts of these enraged, heartless and soulless animals.”

akhaishgi@thenational.ae

Published: December 16, 2014 04:00 AM

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