Pakistan Bombing over Easter labeled terrorism



Pakistani people mourn over the death of their relatives outside a hospital following a suicide blast in Lahore, Pakistan, on Sunday, March 27, 2016. 65 people were killed and more than 300 injured when a suicide bomber hit a public park in Lahore. (Sajjad/Xinhua/Zuma Pres/TNS)

Anna Scheuring , Reporter

On March 27, while families celebrated Easter at a local park in Pakistan, a suicide bomber detonated a bomb, killing 74 people and injuring another 362. Claimed by the Pakistani Taliban, the act of terrorism was targeted towards Christians celebrating Easter.

“Members of the Christian community who were celebrating Easter today were our prime target,” Taliban representative Ehsanullah Ehsan said. Ehsan continued to say that killing women and children was not a goal, though it was a price paid to hit their main target, the male community of Christians.

On Sunday, Pakistani families were enjoying the day at an amusement park. While children played and neighbors mingled, a bomb tore through the park without warning. Though the attack was targeted towards Christians, 14 Christians and 44 Muslims were killed. Horrifically, over 20 children were killed. The bomb killed a majority of women and children, due to the spot that was chosen for the attack, according to NBC News. A Christian man named Sohail, who decided at the last moment to venture to Iqbal Park with his four children and wife, now waits for his 6-year old, who is in surgery and in critical condition. The bomb also killed 10 members of an entire family, all Muslim.

“I was standing there near the seesaw when the blast occurred. As we rushed over here we saw a pool of blood and people, both dead and injured, lying here and there,” witness Mohammad Arshad said about the explosion that ripped through the busy park.

The attack on Sunday was not the first in Pakistan to strike with religious motives. In March 2015, suicide bombers targeted a Christian community in Lahore, killing 12 people and injuring dozens more. The Pakistani Taliban warned of more attacks to come on social media, after claiming the attack. In 2013, more than 80 people were killed when suicide bombers released a bomb in a church in the city of Peshawar. The Pakistani Taliban, known for their deadly attacks on schools and minorities, also claimed the bombings that took the lives of 150 people in Peshawar at a school later in 2014.

“Everyone will get their turn in this war, especially the slave Pakistani media. We are just waiting for the appropriate time,” Ehsanullah Ehsan said on Twitter.

Unfortunately, the Taliban terrorist group was true to their word. The extremist group has also warned of more attacks in the future.

The Easter park bombing fell in the midst tensions in Pakistan beginning to rise. Over 10,000 Pakistani citizens gathered in Islamabad on Friday, two days before the terrorist attack, protesting the Pakistan laws to change to adopt the Muslim Sharia law. The growing issue has created conflict for the minorities in a primarily Islamic country, as the 2% Christians in Pakistan anger the core of Muslims.

Pakistani security began arresting numerous terrorist suspects or assumed facilitators throughout Pakistan following the bombing. Over 5,000 suspects were gathered and released for questioning 2 days after the attack. Ammunition and weapons were recovered from the scene. The police are also investing who worked with the lone bomber in the attack as the mastermind. The Pakistani Army is conducting raids throughout the populous cities of Pakistan.

“Right now in Rawalpindi, Multan and elsewhere, operations are ongoing, intelligence agencies and Rangers and army troops are carrying out operations,” Army spokesman General Asim Bajwa said.

Prime Minister Sharif responded to the attacks, condemning the actions.

“Our goal is not only to eliminate terror infrastructure but also the extremist mindset, which is a threat to our way of life. I want more proactive coordination between law enforcement and intelligence agencies. Provinces should speed up intelligence-based operations against terrorists. We must take this war to the doors of terrorist outfits before they are able to hit our innocent countrymen,” Sharif said.