The Pakistani state and TTP have been embroiled in conflict since 2007. Since then, there have been periods of peace and severe combat. One of the incidents that paved the way for the Pakistani military to launch an operation against TTP was the APS attack on 16th December 2014. The attack, carried out by six TTP members, re
sulted in the death of 149 people, of whom 132 were schoolchildren. This attack occurred in Peshawar; however, its echoes were heard throughout the country. In Lahore, I was a class 8 student five hundred kilometers away from the attack. The day after the attack, I remember standing in my school's morning assembly, where the headmistress announced that our school would be closed till further notice. My school was not the only one closing.
Schools throughout the country had closed till further notice. It was late January when we were finally allowed to go back to school. However, my first day back is something I can never forget. My school building was now covered in barbed wire. There were two armed men at each entrance and several on the rooftop. We had to go through a metal detector in order to enter the building, and each of our bags was checked before we were allowed in. The physical changes were not the only thing that was different. Even the air felt different - tense. My school did not feel like a school anymore - it felt like an attack waiting to happen. I remember a girl crying because it all felt too overwhelming, and she was afraid to be in school, afraid that her fate would be like the 132 who were mercilessly killed weeks ago.
So, despite being a substantial distance away from conflict - I heard the echoes of the conflict.