Peshawar celebrates Independence Day after a decade of lull

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: Photo By News Lens Pakistan / Matiullah Achakzai
Photo By News Lens Pakistan / Matiullah Achakzai

Peshawar: Peshawar is back to normal at least for the uninterrupted celebrations on the Independence Day on August 14 this year after almost a decade.

The attack on the Army Public School Peshawar in December 2014 was the biggest and scariest terrorist attack in the history of Pakistan. The incident did not only shake the country to its bare bones but awakened a new zeal in the civil-military leadership to combat the monster of terrorism without discrimination, applying all the vigor.

A medical practitioner from Peshawar, Sheharyar Ahmad, was amazed to see people from all lifestyles contributing into the Independence Day celebrations. Everyone, he said, was buying flags and Independence Day decorations. Houses were dotted with flags and some had even put on lighting on their homes to mark the excitement. Children had painted their faces out of joy.

Peace in Peshawar has been a good omen for the small businesses that are usually the hardest hit in terror-related activities.

Mohammad Zarif, a shopkeeper at Qissa Khawani Bazaar, has earned double this year compared with last year. “Peace has given a boost to my business. Since the elimination of extortionists I had even less to fear this year,” said Zarif

Due to its proximity with the tribal areas of Pakistan and Afghanistan Peshawar has borne the worst brunt of terrorism. South Asia Terrorism Portal (SATP) reports that more than 1,100 police officers from Peshawar had been killed in the last decade.

Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) crime figure shows a significant decrease in the incidence of terrorism and casualties this year. As many as 131 terror related incidents took place this year compared with 290 last year; a 59 percent drop. One hundred and fifty-six people were injured this year compared with 590 last year; a 74 percent decrease.

A young motorcyclist, Abdul Wahab, flying his flag high in air, had a message to give to the terrorists: “We are not afraid of you. We shall celebrate our independence irrespective of how much you try to deter us.”

Dr Fakhr-ul-Islam, Director, Pakistan Study Center University of Peshawar said that the people of the Federally Administered Tribal Area and KP immensely love their country. They played a vital role in the independence movement, and never shirked from laying down their lives to save their motherland.

“Some people giving false impression on social media that the government is forcing people to show extra jubilation this year on Independence Day. Government can force a few people, but they cannot make everyone celebrate; look at the crowd in the markets, you think it is made-up, it could not be,” said Islam.

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