The post 12/16 painful road to recovery

When tragedy struck an Army Public School Peshawar on December 16, 2014, life changed drastically for everyone. People of Pakistan stood up united against terrorism and wanted action against the culprits. Majid Maqsood was one of the survivors who escaped the attack and moved forward in search of a better future. The Nation interviewed Majid Maqsood about how his life changed due to this incident?

How difficult has it been to move on in life after the incident?

Well, honestly, it was really hard as no student could ever imagine it. It was sudden and really shocking. But gradually I realized that there is a lot more behind all this. All the survivors have to move ahead to prove that terrorism didn’t win. The students want to contribute to society and country by doing different things and with this thought I moved on with an aim to change things. However, I would never want that these wounds should heal fully, as they keep reminding me that I have to move on but with the memory of the martyrs.

What have you been able to succeed till now?

The biggest achievement after the incident for me was realizing that we do not live for ourselves only, we have responsibilities of other people and things too and I feel that the blood of all those martyrs must not be wasted. Apart from that, I am working on a few things to bring a change in society and help people.

I had also written an article in 2015 for all the innocent souls lost in the attack and recorded it also just to remind myself and people that we have lost our children and our future as I felt that people and government is forgetting the incident; but couldn’t release it due to some reasons. The scenario is still the same. People only remember the incident in the month of December and that too just to show their sympathy. Even media they only air tributes, interviews but only in the month of December just to show its audience that they did not forget. The hypocrisy remains the same with every incident.

What are your future plans?

I won't say that I want to become an Army officer, engineer or doctor like most of the people because I feel that we need to focus on all other fields too if we want to see a progressive Pakistan. We overlook other things just to get to a stable position, people feel only 3-4 professions make your future and all students should go for them, which certainly is just a misconception. This is the reason why people are not getting jobs. There are more number of degree holders than the number of jobs. All other fields need attention too.  However, I've different plans and I hope to do something unique because you do not only live for yourself.

Did you need psychological help in the process?

Not really! This is because some people did support me and kept motivating me. I was not alone during this time but still when I look back to the time I spent with my martyrs friends and teachers, I feel afraid. I'm not afraid of terrorists or any other thing but of losing my dear ones.

Would you like to name anyone who supported you during this time?

There were many people who supported me to move ahead and to do something to make the innocents souls happy. Mentioning some of them would not be right.

Has National Action Plan helped Pakistan in any way to counter terrorism?

I don't feel I am qualified enough to comment on this but such plans can never help Pakistan until we do not bring change in ourselves. If we are corrupt then terrorists don't need to destroy us because we are destroying ourselves. (People) want to see a change, but don’t want to be the change. So, first of all, steps should be taken to eliminate all this from the roots. If roots are not strong, there is no point in strengthening the tree. However, NAP has helped a little in some ways but because of constant change in politics and things, NAP has been unable to give its best.

The unity is lacking at the moment and the enemy is only targeting us due to this.

R Umaima Ahmed

Umaima Ahmed is a member  of staff

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