Pakistan’s eastern city of Lahore was rocked with a powerful bomb blast on Sunday evening, killing more than 85 including a 70 Christian people and injuring over a 300.
The deafening explosion took place inside a children’s park known as Gulshan-i-Iqbal Park at Iqbal Town on March 27, 2016 at around 6:30 pm when it was teeming with families, especially women and children, enjoying the Sunday and Easter holiday.
ARY News said 5-6 kg of explosives may have been used in the explosion, which was heard in a large part of Lahore, capital of Punjab province.
An emergency was declared at all government hospitals in the city including Jinnah hospital, Sheikh Zaid hospital, Faroq Hospital and Bajwah Hospital Lahore, and a heavy contingent of police was cordoned off the area and Pakistan Army troops have been deployed at the park.
Meanwhile, Pakistani print media highlighted that the explosion was a suicide attack. There were scattered body parts in the park, where a large number of families, especially Christian women and children, were present on a Sunday evening. The crowd was “unusually large” because of Easter.
Most of the injured were women and children. “Still a big number of people are in critical condition and according to the doctors the death toll may rise, because the injured needed blood which was not easily available in the hospitals for such a big number of patients in the emergency. The local media has declared about 30 more; died in the hospitals on March 29, 2016.
Lahore Ghulshan Park incident reminds of December 16, 2014, Peshawar school massacre, attack conducted by Tehrik-i-Taliban (TTP) at Army Public School in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar and killed 141 people, including 132 schoolchildren, ranging between eight and eighteen years of age.
It’s only a year passed, when twin suicide attacks conducted by Taliban at Youhanabad Catholic Church and the Christ Church, about 30 Christians were killed including women, children and youth on March 15, 2015.
Pakistan is plagued by a Taliban insurgency, criminal gangs and sectarian violence. Punjab is its biggest and wealthiest province where the militant groups such as Lashker-e- Jhangvi, Jamat-ul-Dawa, Sunni Tehreek etc are based; who used to more or often attack minority communities especially Christians in previous years. The big support comes to these militants from PMLN, Punjab government.
Since, Pakistan got GSP plus the government of Pakistan trying to show a picture of peaceful Pakistan among the United Nations and European Countries and has taken several progressive so called initiatives. Pakistan Govt has been trying to overcome the law in order situation and control terrorism within the country through the failure management. Over a few months the present government has started nationwide so called operations against terrorists groups and has banned Islamic organizations that promote Tehrik-I-Taliban and other terrorist groups in Punjab and other provinces of Pakistan but still failed to protect innocent civilians and minority groups from the target killings.
There was an open threat by Islamists to target Christians after the execution of Mumtaz Qadri. The followers of Qadri pressurized and warned the government to hang Asia Bibi before March 27, 2016 (Easter day) otherwise there would be severe consequences. But the government of Punjab was not seriously worried about the threats for the Christians and did not ask for the vigilant security.
The leaders of local mainstream political groups, NGOs, Civil Society Organizations, Churches, International Governments and especially Pope Francis has condemned the incident of Ghulshan-i-Iqbal Park Lahore and killing of innocent people.
As usual Federal and Punjab government has announced cash of 10,00,000PKR (ten hundred thousand rupees) for those who are killed in the blast, 300,000PKR (three hundred thousand rupees) for the serious injured and 150,000PKR (one hundred and fifty thousand rupees) for those who are normally injured. On March 29, 2016 the government has started cheques distribution among a few affected Muslim families in Samanabad Lahore. It is the only hope that the government of Pakistan fairly distributes the committed money as compensation to the victims of brutal attack equally as the Christians always faced discrimination by the government.
The rangers (army forces) and other law and forces agencies has started operation in Punjab and surroundings to overcome the terrorism.
But! The question is; what is the next; is this the last brutal attack on Christians? Are the Christians safe in Pakistan; why the Government is failed to protect minorities and for how long Christians and other minorities has to face killing of their loved one in Pakistan. Decades passed but the suffering of Christians remained the same.
Christians’ True Spirit (CTS) hope that the Government of Pakistan may perhaps take a serious notice of the killing of the innocents in this brutal attack, and could implement such a security measures to provide safe Pakistan to the public at large.