The South Asia Alliance for Poverty Eradication (SAAPE), a regional civil society network encompassing all eight countries of South Asia, condemns the heinous killing of innocent school children in the attack by religious extremists in Peshawar on 16 December 2014.

We offer our condolences, prayers and strength to the families, friends and people of Pakistan who are grappling with this uncalled-for tragedy. It has been a bloody black day for Pakistan and the entire world; an insanity that is absolutely unacceptable anywhere.

The statement by the Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif that Pakistan does not differentiate between ‘good and bad Taliban’ is a welcome one - but the real challenge is to put this understanding into practice. Indeed, crimes of this kind, increasingly warrants the separation of the state and religion.  Therefore, we urge the Pakistani government to intensify steps towards an independent investigation into this massacre to ensure justice be delivered without delay. 

Fundamentalists of all hues and colours across national boundaries continue to fish in troubled waters and only Civil Society and People’s mobilisation in Pakistan and all over South Asia can restore peace and sanity. 

People of the world welcome constructive civil society and people’s actions, and international solidarity for democracy, peace and justice instead of fundamentalism, terror, violence, and war as was demonstrated when Kailash Satyarthi and Malala Yousafzai were jointly awarded with the Nobel Peace Prize in 2014. 

We further demand South Asian governments to take immediate joint actions to address the growing rise of religious fundamentalism in the region.

 

SAAPE Secretariat

Kathmandu, Nepal

19 December 2014