NEWS | Anne Lim
Monday 28 March 2016
A Taliban-linked group says Christians were the main target of an Easter Sunday suicide bomb attack in Lahore, Pakistan, which officials say killed at least 65 people and wounded more than 300.
The explosion happened in the Gulshan-e-lqbal Park, which Reuters described as a popular place for members of Lahore’s Christian community, many of whom had gone there to celebrate the Easter weekend holiday.
Anthony Lamuel, general secretary of the Pakistan Bible Society, said today he could hear the explosion from his home 5km away. He said all Bible Society staff were safe.
Police said most of the casualties from the explosion, which happened near the swings, were women and children.
Witnesses described flames shooting as high as the trees as the blast occurred and one said he saw bodies flying in the air.
Taliban faction Jamaat-ul-Ahrar claimed responsibility for the attack and said the target was Christians.
“We want to send this message to the Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif that we have entered Lahore,” spokesman Ehsanullak Ehsan said.
“He can do what he wants but he won’t be able to stop us. Our suicide bombers will continue these attacks.”
The Pakistani Taliban has been fighting to overthrow the Muslim republic government and impose strict Islamic rule for many years.
Islamist militants in Pakistan have attacked Christians and other religious minorities often over the past decade.
Yesterday’s attack comes one year after two suicide bombers targeted Lenten services in Lahore’s largest Christian neighbourhood and may prove to be the deadliest attack for three years.
Bible Society Australia supports Bible distribution and literacy work in Pakistan. See: www.biblesociety.org.au/pakistan