By: Urooj Fatima Lecturer in English Fazaia Inter College Malir Cant
“Teachers are the sublime creatures,” we have often read it in books and magazines. I came to know of such a figure in my practical life. She stood as a supreme example of humanity while going into the lap of death. It was Mrs. Tahira Qazi, a sixty-two year old lady, the wife of retired Col. Ahmed Qazi, teacher and Principal of Army Public School Peshawar. She exalted herself while trying to save the students of the school. She appeared as a warrior or rather a soldier who fought bravely with unafraid eyes even at the cost of her own life. No doubt, the horrifying massacre at the Army Public School, Peshawar, on 16th Dec. 2014 was the worst act of terrorism that took away the lives of 132 innocent students and 10 staff members. Mrs. Tahira Qazi, the Principal of the school was taken hostage by the terrorists and later shot dead in front of her students. The lady indeed bravely faced the armed militants when they stormed the school. The gunmen went from classroom to classroom shooting children indiscriminately. They sprayed the children with bullets who were attending a lecture in the auditorium. One cannot imagine the miserable plight of a helpless lady principal running amidst the weeping, crying, wounded young children shocked out of their senses, trying to console them. The classrooms filled with blood-stained bodies were enough to drive her out of her mind but she practiced control. She wanted to rescue the rest of the students who were still alive and was deeply concerned for their parents too. She tried to reassure the parents on the phone until it became impossible for her. It was really the matter of great courage… a woman, bare-handedly trying to combat those armed men. Women who are naturally timid hearted and fragile creatures usually faint in such situations bMrs. Tahira Qazi kept her mind and senses in full control. Her only shield and shelter was Allah while she was holding the fort. When she was threatened by one of those devils, she jumped forward in front of them, stood like an invincible fort and said, “I am their mother. Talk to me.” These are simple words yet they reflect her noble character that was a blend of motherhood and a duty-bound principal. She could have escaped from the scene and saved her life, yet her motherly feelings and devotion to duty did not let her run away. She embraced her death when she was shot in her head brutally in front of her students. Indeed she touched the heights of sublimity in receiving such a death. It was because of her bravery that several hundred students escaped the brutal attack and are alive today. The Gorvernment of Pakistan awarded her Sitara-e-Jurrat for her act of valour. We too salute her for her sacrifice that has turned her into an example of nobility. She was one of the pioneers of Army Public School and had served the institution for 20 years. She, at last, donated her life for her school’s prestige and sanctity. She will always be remembered as the saviour of our nation. May Allah ta’ala grant her the highest rank in Jannah and rest her soul in peace. Ameen.