Winnipeg Pakistani community calls Peshawar attack a heinous crime

The killing of 141 children and staff at a Peshawar military school has Winnipeg's Pakistani community standing united against terrorism.
The killing of 141 children and staff at a Peshawar military school has Winnipeg's Pakistani community standing united against terrorism. 1:59

Rashid Ahmed was stunned when he woke up Tuesday morning and saw reports of an attack on a Pakistani military school that left 141 dead, mostly school children.

"I didn't believe what was happening there," said Ahmed, the coordinator of the Association of Pakistani Canadians of Manitoba.

"It's basically happening with the school kids from grade 1 to 10 and this attack's been organized by the Pakistani Taliban who basically have done heinous crimes before that and this is the worst"

Ahmed said people in his community are frantically trying to get news of what happened and who may be among the victims.

Rashid Ahmed, coordinator with the Association of Pakistani Canadians of Manitoba calls the attack in Peshawar heinous. (CBC)
"People are worried about their own relatives, some of those people who have relatives in those areas and it's basically they are very sad and they don't know what to do right now," Ahmed said. 

"Just like a shock you know, like it is sad, you know, and it is shock. It is absolutely not fair and it is a terrible situation and everybody is in grief," said Dr. Naseer Warraich, chair of the Association of Pakistani Canadians of Manitoba.

Warraich has a sister and nieces still in Pakistan and worries about them every day. People there don't feel safe going anywhere in light of other recent attacks, he said.

"No security," Warraich said. "You cannot go out and you don't know that you will be back home safe or not."

In June, Taliban gunmen disguised as police guards attacked a terminal at Pakistan's busiest airport with machine-guns and a rocket launcher during a five-hour siege that killed 18 people 

Warraich said Islam does not teach violence and he worries attacks such as the one in Peshawar will destroy the state of Pakistan.

Dr. Naseer Warraich (seen in a file photo) calls the attacks in Pakistan a shock to the community in Winnipeg.
Ahmed said the attacks put all people from Pakistan in a difficult position and it's time the community stands up against terrorist groups such as the Taliban.

"Putting us in a bad situation because we are the one who face the people, we are the one who have to respond, we are the one who has to basically defend ourselves. No, we are not part of that. We are not part of that. They are nothing to do with us," Ahmed said.

"And I personally think they don't belong to any religion or any belief. The mad people those who have been brainwashed and they are acting with no brain."

The association plans to meet this week to discuss a possible protest and vigil in Winnipeg. Ahmed would like to see more than just the Pakistani community attend.

"So, the Canadian people to stand with us and fight against those terrorists, fight against those people who are putting us a bad name and also doing a very very bad thing in Pakistan and across the world. We are standing united."

Ahmed said the Pakistani government and the world needs to find a way to cut off funding and arms to the Taliban. He said that is the only way to end the violence.


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