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Suicide bombers kill 14 outside Pakistani churches

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Pakistani Christians and rescue workers gather outside a church damaged from a suicide bombing attack in Lahore, Pakistan, yesterday. Suicide bombers exploded themselves near two churches in the eastern city of Lahore as worshippers were gathered inside, killing at least a dozen people, officials said, in the latest attack against religious minorities in the country. (AP Photo/K.M. Chaudary)

PAKISTANI Taliban suicide bombers exploded themselves near two churches in the eastern city of Lahore yesterday as worshippers were gathered inside, killing 14 people, officials said, in the latest attack against religious minorities in the increasingly fractured country.
In the tense aftermath, angry mobs lashed out at people they suspected of involvement in the attacks – including one person who was burned to death – and Christian crowds set fire to cars in a show of defiance in the country’s second largest city and the prime minister’s seat of power.
Life in Pakistan is increasingly fraught with danger for religious minorities, especially Christians. They have been targeted by extremist Sunni Muslim militants who object to their faith.

They are also discriminated against in the wider society where they can often only get menial jobs like garbage collection, and are frequently targets of blasphemy accusations.

The explosions occurred in quick succession in the Christian neighborhood of Youhana Abad at two churches while parishioners were celebrating Sunday morning services inside. The churches are about 600 meters (650 yards) apart.

At least 70 people were wounded, said Zahid Pervez, the provincial director general of health, who gave the death toll.
One unidentified witness told Pakistan’s Geo television that the main gate to one of the churches targeted was closed so people were using a smaller gate.

“One bomber exploded himself near that gate, that created chaos and during the course there was another blast,” he said.
In the aftermath of the blasts the mood quickly turned violent. Much of the country is on edge after years of militant violence including an attack on a Peshawar school in December that killed 150 people – mostly students.

Local television footage showed an angry crowd beating a person they thought was connected to the attack, while others attacked buses in the city. The crowds burned to death one person they believed was involved in the attack and tried to lynch another, said Haider Ashraf, deputy inspector general for Lahore.

Two police who were protecting the churches were also killed in the explosions, which he confirmed were caused by suicide bombers.
A spokesman for the Punjab province government condemned the attacks but also said it was unfortunate that the mob had attacked suspects. He said authorities are reinforcing security at the 481 remaining churches across the city.

Militants appear to be targeting minorities more intensively recently, including attacks on a string of mosques belonging to members of the Shiite Muslim minority sect. In 2013, twin blasts at a church in Peshawar killed 85 people.
“There will be more of such attacks,” warned Ahsanullah Ahsan, a spokesman for the Taliban faction that claimed responsibility for the assault, in a statement emailed to reporters.

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has his power base in Lahore and his party, the Pakistan Muslim League-N, also runs the Punjab government, where his brother is chief minister. The provincial government has been accused in the past of not doing enough to protect religious minorities and reign in extremist groups based in the province who often whip up religious sentiment against minorities.



2 Comments
  • Thank you for reading my comment. World watches instantly via internet what’s going on. News and comments posted via Internet are probably being read by nations across the world. I am just one among them. Hence please don’t be frustrated. Imagine you were at a festive gathering and a fight broke out between family members….everyone at the gathering are watching and doesn’t it generate awkward feelings? As a match-stick can set forest trees on fire and char them and those amongst them, tongue has the power to set minds on fire. Hence please be wise, humble, compassionate and impartial in your judgements.

    It’s not possible to understand even our parents or closest kin all the time… But what keeps the bond is love. In love, there is understanding, forgiveness and mutual respect. Also, Love’s got no hate in it. It brings peace and positive ideas. It completely cleans out hatred and only love remains in one’s heart. It’s like the sugar that makes a bitter coffee sweet. I do not wish nobody hates nobody for the problems though we were at the same level as them when we came out of our mother’s wombs (without malice and deceit)….I wish you understand my message of peace, love and hope. I am not affiliated with any religion; however I would say everyone who loves is born of God to make known the father’s presence amongst us. Everyone who loves cherishes life. Everyone who comes to know the value of life is for peace. And where there is peace, there is hope for the living. When there is hope every member of community strives for its prosperity.

    Since Love is the starting point for building hope…how can we trigger love instead of a weapon?
    1. By Authoritarian Regime?
    2. By Protests?
    3. By Education?
    4. By Spreading One’s own “Religion”?
    5. Improving Economy?

    Though all of the above help alleviate human suffering, for the last three millenniums the history shows that they failed to generate hope and trust among all responsible individuals of communities, cities and even nations! The only force/education/religion/wealth that kept even the most homogenous societies together is “Agape Love”. [Broadly love is of three types: Philos (family, brothers, sisters, friends), Eros (between lovers; men/women/gay), Agape (of strangers/helpers/givers).]

    Agape Love is being patient, empathetic and compassionate to God’s creation (Animate & inanimate). By Animate, I mean all living creatures and not just human beings! By Inanimate, I mean all non-living like Water, Air, Sun, Earth, stars, universe etc. (However inanimate is also living in God’s view)…When you say you love God, you are expressing your “Agape Love” to him. Exercising “Agape Love” is the toughest exercise. Yes…it’s the toughest exercise any body-builder, sports athlete, Military personnel, Law-enforcement, revolutionaries etc. can do! I challenge everyone in Lahore and you; do you have it in you to exercise “Agape Love”?

    Being patient does not mean ‘apathy’ (lack of interest). By being empathetic does not mean one changes their view and accepts others view like switching TV channels. By being compassionate does not mean, you let someone who blinded your one eye to blind the other one too….That’s why I mean it’s the toughest exercise….Agape love starts with Patience…and members of different parts of community (including Govt officials) may sit together (civic engagement) every day and once in a while to meditate what’s good for themselves, society, humanity and creation as a whole…It need not happen only in Lahore or Islamabad or Mecca or Vatican City or Washington D.C. Or New York City or New Delhi or even in Heaven… It should start in your own small town in a chai dukan, in a sport’s field or cricket maidan, online, or park or just in a plain ground where everyone can hear everyone else…And that’s the true gathering of people in God’s Name!

    Peace!,
    Kal Gandikota

  • omole Busayo Ade

    I pray that the almigty God will take absolute control IN JESUS NAME