Let’s call all victims ‘martyrs’ and just NAP

  • TTP Jamaatul Ahrar claims responsibility for bombing, says they had planned an attack on Easter under operation codenamed ‘Saut Ul Raad’
  • Casualties include a large number of Muslims as well, as Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif postpones trip to Britain and Gen Raheel orders intelligence agencies to arrest perpetrators of Lahore terrorism

 

A Taliban suicide bomber killed at least 70 people, mostly members of the minority Christian community and injured more than 350 others, most of them women and children, at a public park in Punjab’s provincial capital Lahore on Sunday.

The blast occurred in the parking area of Gulshan-e-Iqbal Park in Allama Iqbal Town, a few meters away from children’s swings.

The dastardly attack was claimed by Jamaatul Ahraar, a splinter faction of the banned terrorist outfit Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), which said that the attack on Christians on Easter had been carried out under an operation codenamed “Saut Ul Raad”, which will continue throughout this year.

“We claim responsibility for the attack on Christians as they were celebrating Easter,” spokesperson for the TTP Jamaatul Ahrar, Ehsanullah Ehsan said in a statement to local media.

“It was part of our annual martyrdom attacks we have started this year,” Ehsan said, adding that “we had been waiting for this occasion.”

“We want to convey to the ruling PML-N and the prime minister that we have arrived in Punjab and we will reach you,” he said.

Px27-070 LAHORE: Mar27 - Rescue workers seen picking up a body from the site of a bomb blast at Gulshan-e-Iqbal Park on the eve of Easter Sunday. ONLINE PHOTO by Sajid Rana

MAYHEM AT THE PARK:

Iqbal Town Superintendent Police Dr Muhammad Iqbal confirmed to Pakistan Today that the suicide bomber — packed with at least eight kilogrammes of explosives – had detonated the bomb near the children’s swings. He added that the bomb was packed with ball bearings for causing maximum deaths and injuries.

Security sources said that the suspected suicide bomber had been identified as Yousuf, son of Ghulam Farid, a resident of district Muzzafargarh, born January 1, 1988. The information was obtained from a burnt out national identity card found near the body of the suspected bomber.

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Eyewitnesses said they saw body parts strewn across the parking lot once the dust had settled after the blast.

A resident of Iqbal Town who was at the park for an evening walk said that he had seen “bodies fly in the air” when the blast occurred.

“Flames were so high they reached above the trees and the attack site was soon littered with dead bodies and body parts,” said the man who identified himself as Akram.

TV footages showed children and women standing in pools of blood outside the park, crying and screaming and rescue officials, police and bystanders carrying injured people to ambulances and private cars.

Dozens of women and children were seen being wheeled into hospitals, covered in blood. Many of the injured were transported to hospitals on taxis and auto-rickshaws due to a shortage of ambulances. Hundreds of citizens arrived outside hospitals to donate blood.

Model Town Superintendent of Police Mustansar Feroz said that most of the injured and dead were women and children. The police official said that “adequate police security had been deployed at the park”.

 

Amanat Masih had brought his three children and two nephews to Gulshan-e-Iqbal Park to celebrate the Easter holiday, but the visit resulted in the tragic deaths of his two sons and a nephew.

“We were just here to enjoy the weather and have a good evening,” he said, wailing as he got his injuries nursed by a rescue official. “What kind of people target innocent people and little children in a park?”

Muhammad Rashid, who had helped move the injured to hospital said, “We took the injured to hospitals on rickshaws and taxis.”

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.”

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

“The park is huge and has many entrance gates. There were almost no security personnel present there,” said a man who said he was present in the park when the explosion took place.

Px27-072 LAHORE: Mar27 - Security personnel seen near an area cordoned off after a bomb blast at Gulshan-e-Iqbal Park on the eve of Easter Sunday. ONLINE PHOTO by Sajid Rana

Javed Ali, a 35-year-old resident who lives opposite the park, said the force of the blast had shattered his home’s windows.

“Everything was shaking, there were cries and dust everywhere.

“After ten minutes I went outside. There was human flesh on the walls of our house. People were crying, I could hear ambulances,” he told a wire agency.

“The park was overcrowded because of Easter, there were a lot of Christians there. It was so crowded I told my family not to go.”

Dr Ashraf at Jinnah Hospital said that more than 40 dead bodies had arrived at the hospital.

“The number of injured stands at more than 340 people, of them 138 are in critical condition,” he said. I fear the death toll will rise.”

He described a nightmarish scene at the hospital, with staff treating casualties on floors and in corridors.

Soon after the attack, the Punjab government ordered all public parks to be closed and announced three days of mourning in the province. The main shopping areas were shut down and many of the city’s main roads were deserted.

The army was called in to control crowds outside the park. Some distraught, sobbing relatives clashed with police and rescue officials.

PM CONDEMNS ATTACK, ARMY CHIEF ORDERS CRACKDOWN:

In Islamabad, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif expressed grief over the loss of lives in the terrorist attack in Lahore and said this would only reinforce the government’s will to clamp down on terrorism.

“Those who died in Lahore today were my children and brothers and sisters. We will eliminate terrorism from the country come what may,” he said.

Prime Minister Nawaz has also announced to cancel his visit to Britain on Monday (today) in wake of the Lahore bombing and the tense standoff in Islamabad.

The prime minister was scheduled to visit London ahead of his visit to the United States where he will attend a nuclear security summit on Thursday.

Meanwhile at the General Headquarters in Rawalpindi late on Sunday night, Chief of Army Staff General Raheel Sharif chaired a high-level security meeting in which Director Generals of the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) and Military Intelligence (MI) participated.

According to the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR), the army chief had ordered the intelligence apparatus to put their act together and ensure that those behind the bombing in Lahore were brought to justice at the earliest.

The ISPR said that Gen Raheel also called for concerted efforts to apprehend the facilitators and abettors of this attack.

CONDEMNATIONS:

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi was the first international leader to condemn the incident in Lahore.

Talking to Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on the telephone, Modi condemned the attack in the strongest terms.

“It’s condemnable to attack innocent children and women. We are with Pakistani nation in this time of grief,” he said, adding that India was ready to offer full support to Pakistan in fighting terrorism.

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The United States also condemned the tragic incident in a statement from the White House.

“The United States stands with the people and government of Pakistan at this difficult hour. We will continue to work with our partners in Pakistan and across the region … to root out the scourge of terrorism,” White House National Security Council spokesman Ned Price said in the statement.

 

 

 

 

Asher John

Writer is the former Chief News Editor of Pakistan Today and former Editor Quality, Daily Times. He can be reached at [email protected]



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41 Comments

  1. Arif jan said:

    So sad, may ALLAH give patience to the effected families.

  2. osman said:

    obviously if firoon-e-azam of Punjab is traveling with a motorcade of 27 vehicles with armed elite force policeman at every 25 meters throughout this firoun's route, who is going to save the people of Pakistan from dying. the CM should be hang by neck till his death for this!

    • Zahid_aziz said:

      Sweet. Very well, then we'd have another CM. Then after a while another suicide bomber will blow himself. We'll remove the new CM too, at your request. This way, every year we'll have a new CM. what a nice solution!. Cheers.

  3. imran ali said:

    VERY SAD…. once again intelligence failure or too busy in formation and breaking political party in Karachi.RAW mind set should be changed and should go after the real culprits…

  4. Jalees Ahmad said:

    who are these people, who are spoiling our country , please Allah save our country from such incidents, may their souls rest in peace..

  5. attilashrugs said:

    Why is Easter Sunday a holiday in an Islamic state? Not asking rhetorically. Curious,.

    • flaguy9540 said:

      It was known that Pakistani Christians would be at the park on Easter Sunday as it has become a tradition. They were murdered simply because they were Christians. These terrorist organizations need to be wiped off the face of the earth. There will be a lot of collateral damage and many innocents will be killed…but it appears to be the only way. So much for Islam being a religion of peace – you may as well call Hitler and Stalin "humanitarians!"

      • Javeed said:

        Its your puppets in power in Punjab who are opposed to action against all criminals – terrorists included. People do want action against every one. Your puppets in Power have nothing to do with Islam. And its not Islam's fault, if Jadev's are issued Indian passports under fake Muslim names for coordinating such terrorists activities.

    • Mohammad Ali said:

      Sunday in general is a holiday in Pakistan. They had Friday as off day for anout 20 – 25 years but it did not worked out due economic & trade issues. Now they have a 3 hour break for Friday prayers.

      Also, recently they passed a bill in parliament which makes Christian & Hindu occassions as national Holiday to promote religious harmony

  6. eddied said:

    Suicide bombers are always radical ISLAMIC militants… the Taliban killers and their supporters in Pakistan are to blame… until these twisted fanatics are removed from civilized society Pakistan will never see peace..

  7. Zahid_aziz said:

    Sad news. For those pointing fingers at Law Enforcement Departments, what would you do to prevent such events? Strip search 5000 persons entering through the gate? Israel, Belgium, France, Iraq etc have all experienced such bombings and there is nothing much that can be done except resolve to continue fight against terrorists. At least Punjab Govt. does not talk of peace talks with monsters like KP Govt.

  8. Sam Bash said:

    We U S A should clean all these murderers once and forever. And may Allah bless those affected families

  9. @bnvnik said:

    It is clear that this is genocide on religious grounds, they are clear that MS Merkel will not help, because it's Christians. In Europe there is no law on religious racism, unlike Russia…

  10. adeel murtaza said:

    .. So sad, may ALLAH give
    patience to the effected
    families.

  11. Javeed said:

    Its intelligence failure of IB at federal level, CTD at Provincial level and Punjab Police intelligence unit. Heads of these three departments must roll. Punjab Home/Law ministers and Federal Interior Minster must resign as well.

  12. Geyb Velasquez said:

    So sad.. The Philippines offers its sincerest empathies to the affected families.

  13. alfinahertiwirani said:

    Sad news.. may Allah give patience to the effected families..

  14. Javaid Bashir said:

    Extremely agitated over this violent attack. Ahrar have reeked havoc killing so many persons. They id not spare the women & children too.
    We condemn this atrocious act.

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  16. fasiha said:

    very very tragic.innocent n harmless people were targeted.May Allah forgive us.these brutal bunch of devils belong to no religion, caste n creed but are todays pharoahs.Only Allah Almighty can teach them a lesson.

  17. syed waqas said:

    it is shoocking for me that there is no security for this park . This is totaly failuer of govt of punjab .He is busy to make lahore into parius How folish is this.

  18. Robert M said:

    I cannot even begin to imagine the pain and grief of those affected by this as I sit at my computer thousands of kilometres from where it happened.
    I remain ever thankful for Jesus – the redeemer who died for our sins upon a cruel cross, who rose from the dead three days later so that we too might have new life – eternal life – and who comforts us in our sorrows.
    My Moslem friends, I will never criticise your sincerity and faith but I do encourage you to read the Bible, especially the New Testament, starting with the gospels.

  19. Laszlo Forizs said:

    8And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. 9Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name…

    14Do all things without grumbling or disputing, 15that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, 16holding fast to the word of life…(Phil 2)

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  21. Manav Rajput said:

    RIP….I hope worldwide and Pakistani Muslims are happy and celebrating… Effective and successful Zihad…

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  23. Rana Tanveer said:

    "Taliban suicide bomber killed at least 70 people, mostly members of the minority Christian community". Dear writer please correct the information as most of the victims were Muslims and 16 Christians including 3 women were among 74 dead. we are misleading the word by distorting the facts. I dont mean to prove that Christians are not among the effectees but what I am trying to do is to acknowledge all victims regardless of their religion.

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