February 13th, February 15th, February 16th.

The chemist holds up his placard as he protests his rights to violence-free health-care provision.

A member of the Khasadar force stays attentive with his gun in his hand, always willing to serve his nation to the best of his abilities.

A little girl laughs with delight as she drinks in her surroundings: the shrine is as beautiful as she imagined it would be.

More than 100 people dead. 100 families destroyed. 100 lives gone in the name of terror.

Their biggest mistake?

Not their intentions. The chemist wanted job security. The member of the Khasadar force wanted to protect citizens. The little girl had heard stories of how gorgeous a shrine is and she wanted to see it for the first time.

Their biggest mistake?

Being in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Therefore, I have to address a letter to those who have benefitted from this.

‘Dear’ Authority Figures,

Was it worth it?

You can buy better food now. But will you be able to stomach the feeling of dread as a side-dish?

Was it worth it?

You look great in your new custom-made designer clothes. But what fashion designer out there can disguise the ugliness of your heart?

Was it worth it?

You drive the shiniest and fastest of cars. But can you drive away from the nightmares that will haunt you, day in and day out?

Was it worth it?

You can afford all the medicines that cure insomnia. Because the hollow eyes of the dead lurk at every corner, torturing you with their pain and their lost hope, not letting you sleep.

Was it worth it?

You can marry your children off to the richest and most influential of beings. But all those whose happiness you have snatched forces you to take another anti-depression pill on your daughter’s big day.

Was it worth it?

You are a king. The only thing you lack is peace of mind.

When will you have had enough? How much further until we call it a day?

Put the gun down. You’re pointing it the wrong way.

And pray, do tell:

Was it worth it?

With all due respect,

A Concerned Citisen.