At least 70 Pakistanis killed in Lahore suicide attack, over 200 injured

Easter Sunday suicide attack Lahore, Pakistan Photo: Dawn

This is wThis article highlight events as they occured:Our intrepid officer Mehwish Bhatti has been visiting all the victims of the Gulshan Park Bomb attack, providing trauma counselling, aid and support to as many as possible. Already we have spent £3000 but have only just started the essential rebuilding and restoration programmes for many. Mehwish has described many of the woeful tales of suffering that simply should not have happened. Five teenagers Sharoon Patras, Wasif Amanat, Irfan Patras and Adnan Masih and Waqar Pervaiz who lived along the same street in Lahore shared friendship, love of their families and a Christian faith. On Easter Sunday 2016 they set out of their homes early to help set up the church for the morning devotions The boys cleaned the building, helped put up the decorations with many other youth and left for home beaming at the glorious look of their beautiful church. They returned home to shower and change into cleaner clothes and arrived refreshed at their church ready to pray, worship and learn about their Lord, whilst sharing good fellowship. After the service they travelled to Gulshan Park full of youthful exuberance excited about the colour and lights of the wonderful funfair that awaited them. They simply could not wait to meet all their friends and have a night of fun a rare treat in a harsh world. Little did the unsuspecting boys know that only a few moments later a great malice would be enacted on the them by a pernicious man intent on killing as many people as possible. His twisted ideology espoused by hate-filled terrorists intent on hurting Christians would lead to an Easter Day Massacre that would shock the globe and would mean the end of earthly life of three of these friends. A sound was heard, some shouting that eventually became recognised as the blood-curdling chanting in Arabic that precedes every Islamic suicide bomber. As fear set in the boys realised it was too late to remove themselves to a safe place, resigned to their fate they shouted out to others to run as the bomb exploded killingSharoon Patras (16 years), Wasif Amanat (16 years) and Waqar Pervaiz (16 years) immediately. Irfan Patras (17 years) and Adnan Masih (17 years), somehow survived their friends but the two of them are in critical condition. They have both not yet wept for their friends as they have not been informed of the deaths of the others as we write for fear it will destabilise their recovery. A day of great joy and festivity became a ghoulish nightmare that consumes them with grief, anxiety and depression but the pain for the two survivors is still set to get worse when they discover the fate of their friends.

Two of the victims were brothers Sharoon and Irfan Patras who simply wanted to celebrate Easter with their friends. The Patras family has been left devastated with the loss of one sosn and another seriously injured in hospital. Irfan described the incident to Mehwish, he said:

“I saw a bearded man who looked overweight. He suddenly started to shout loudly in Arabic I did not understand it all but knew it to be in Arabic. I and my friends knew what was going to happen next but it was too late for us to get far away, we started shouting to no avail the incendiary device around the man’s waist was set off. We all fell down before the force of the blast it took a few moments for me to recover. I saw Sharoon had collapsed next to me he was badly injured. I helped get him into a rickshaw with other people in the area we also helped an unknown girl get into the same rickshaw.. Everyone was intent on getting the injured to hospital so they could get treated quickly. I got into the rickshaw last I was injured and bleeding too and must have collapsed before I got to the hospital as my last memory is waking in the ward.”
hat the Pakistani Christian Community feared.

Dastardly cowardly Muslim terrorists!

As Pakistani Christian community was celebrating Easter‬, Iqbal Town Superintendent Police Dr Muhammad Iqbal confirmed this was a suicide attack that took place at a children’s park, where a large number of families, especially women and children, were present. “Most of the dead and injured are women and children,” said Mustansar Feroz, police superintendent for the area in which the park is located.

LAHORE: At least 70 people were killed in a suicide attack in Gulshan-i-Iqbal Park of Iqbal Town on Sunday evening, provincial government officials said. Hospital sources added that over 350 were injured.

The area is a renowned residential area of Lahore. The blast was just outside the exit gate and a few feet (metres) away from the children’s swings.

DCO Captain (Retd) Muhammad Usman said the head of the suicide bomber was recovered. Ball bearings were also found at the site.

Eye witnesses said there were pools of blood and scattered body parts spread across the site of the attack.

“We took the injured to hospitals on rickshaws and taxis,” one eyewitness said.

He added that the crowd was “unusually large” because of Easter.

“The roads were also jammed and queues of vehicles could be seen till Moon Market.”

‘No security’

Many eyewitnesses said there was no security present in and around the park.

An eye witness, talking to DawnNews, said:

“The park is huge and has many entrance gates. There were almost no security personnel present there.”

A Rescue 1122 spokesman confirmed that an emergency call was received at around 6:44pm and that over 20 ambulances had been sent to the site at the time.

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International Christian Concern
2020 Pennsylvania Ave. NW #241, Washington, D.C. 20006
 
 
Media Contact:
Olivia Miller, Communications Coordinator
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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
At Least 70 Killed and Over 300 Wounded in Easter Bombing in Pakistan
 
Terrorist Group Claims Pakistan’s Christians Were Intentionally Targeted

03/28/2016 Washington D.C. (International Christian Concern) – International Christian Concern (ICC) has learned that at least 70 people have been killed and over 300 more wounded in a suicide bombing targeting Christians celebrating Easter in Lahore, Pakistan. This attack marks the second deadliest attack on Christians in Pakistan’s history following the suicide bombing of All Saints Church in Peshawar in 2013.

 
At approximately 6:30 p.m., a suicide bomber from an offshoot of the Pakistani Taliban carried out the attack in the parking lot of Gulshan e-Iqbal Park where many Christian families were celebrating the end of the Easter Holiday. Rescue services in Pakistan have reported that at least 29 children were among the dead following the attack.
 
A spokesman for the Jamaat Ul-Ahrar group, an offshoot of the Pakistani Taliban that has sworn alliance to ISIS, publically took responsibility for the attack. “It was our people who attacked the Christians in Lahore, celebrating Easter,” Ehsanullah Ehsan told the media. “It’s our message to the government that we will carry out such attacks again until sharia is imposed in the country.”
 
Leaders in Pakistan have condemned the attack and promised justice to the victims. Pakistan’s Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said, “Our goal is not only to eliminate terror infrastructure but also the extremist mindset which has threatened our way of life.”
 
On Monday, Pakistani security agencies began hunting down members of the Jamaat Ul-Ahrar group. Military spokesman General Asim Bajwa reported that intelligence agencies, the army and paramilitary Rangers launched raids around Punjab following the attack, capturing a number of suspects and a huge cache of arms and ammunition.
 
While speaking with ICC, Peter Jacob, Executive Director of the Center for Social Justice, said, “Now that Jamaat Ul-Ahrar have claimed responsibly and their target were Christians, it is clear that the extremists will use these attacks to challenge the political will of the government. The Christian community is the victim of a gory power conflict.”
 
Pastor Arshad Ashknaz, head pastor of Christ Church in Youhanabad, expressed deep sorrow over the loss of innocent people. He said, “The Christians will not protest against this incident. However, we urge the government to take action to protect the Christian community.”
 
Christians and their places of worship have recently been targeted by Pakistan’s Islamic extremists. On March 15, 2015, suicide bombers from the Jamaat Ul-Ahrar group attacked St. John’s Catholic Church and Christ Church in Lahore’s majority Christian neighborhood of Youhanabad, killing over 20 and wounding another 70. In September 2013, suicide bombers from the Pakistani Taliban attacked All Saints Church in Peshawar killing over 130 Christians who were gathered there for Sunday worship.
 

ICC’s Regional Manager for South Asia, William Stark, said, “It is sad to see another senseless and extreme act of violence unleashed on Pakistan’s already vulnerable Christian community, especially as they were celebrating the Easter holiday. Christians and their places of worship are seen as convenient targets by Pakistan’s terrorists. Not only are they poorly protected by Pakistan’s security forces, they are also seen as an extension of the West in Pakistan. Following the bombings of All Saints Church in 2013, Pakistan’s Supreme Court wrote a suo moto opinion that demanded the Pakistani government take steps to secure both Christians and their places of worship. Many of the reforms detailed in that opinion have yet to be enacted. Because of this inability or unwillingness to protect the Christian minority, Christians in Pakistan have suffered two more major assaults by the country’s terrorist networks. First in 2015 when two churches were attacked in Youhanabad and yesterday with the bombing at Gulshan e-Iqbal Park. Pakistan must do more to secure its Christian minority or else attacks like these will continue.”

PAKISTAN – ‘We need more prayers!’   Please continue to pray for the bereaved and injured following Sunday’s horrific suicide bomb attack on Christians in Lahore.   More than 70 people, Christians and Muslims, were killed and over 350 seriously injured in the blast at a leisure park. A Taliban splinter group admitted responsibility for the attack which was deliberately targeted at the Christian community.    A church leader in Lahore, who previously expressed to us fears of such an attack, told us: ‘Once again the Christian community is targeted on Easter Sunday.   ‘Gulshan-e-Iqbal is a very attractive and popular park in the northwest of Lahore and on special occasions this park is always overcrowded with children and parents. On Easter Day after church services many Christian families from all sides of Lahore city went to this park to have some recreational time with their children.’   Most of the dead and injured were women and children.   The church leader added: ‘Please continue to pray for the bereaved and grieving. We need more prayers!   Also on Sunday thousands of Islamist activists went on the rampage in the capital, Islamabad. At least three people were killed and several others injured in violent clashes with government forces. The protesters demanded the immediate execution of Asia Bibi, a Christian whose appeal against the death sentence for blasphemy is pending in the Supreme Court.

  • Pray for protection and peace for the Christian community in Lahore and throughout Pakistan. Remember especially those bereaved or injured in Sunday’s attack.
  • Pray that Pakistan’s Government would take decisive action to tackle terrorism. Sadly society and government either openly or secretly collude with these terrorists. Corruption and hatred of minorities and maltreatment of women is endemic!-JK
  • Pray that Christians in Pakistan would be able to respond in love to those who seek them harm and that those who persecute them would be touched and changed by the gospel of Jesus Christ.
  • Ask God for protection and peace for Asia Bibi and other Christians in prison for their faith in Pakistan, and for their families, and pray too that those unjustly imprisoned would be released.

(Sources: Release contact, Morning Star News. Image: Women devastated by the attack © Release International/SJ)

 

 

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