Taliban bombers target Christian worshippers in Lahore | Pakistan Today

Taliban bombers target Christian worshippers in Lahore

  • Christian mobs go on a rampage, torture two suspected militants to death and set their bodies on fire
  • Block Ferozepur Road for hours, refuse to let police and other security and govt personnel enter Christian neighbourhood
  • Mass protests called for Monday as Christian schools announce day’s closure to mourn attacks

At least 16 people were killed and 78 others injured, 30 of them critically, when Taliban suicide bombers struck two churches during Sunday mass in Lahore’s Youhanabad locality, sparking mob violence in which two other suspected terrorists were killed.

Up to 4,000 Christians from the 100,000-strong Christian inhabited area later took to the streets of the city, many armed with clubs as they smashed vehicles and attacked a city bus station in a rare show of anger by the weak non-Muslim community.

Pastor Irshad Ashaknaz of the Protestant Christ Church and Father Francis Gulzar of the Roman Catholic Saint John’s Church told Pakistan Today in separate interviews that up to 2,000 Christians were present in the two churches for the Sunday mass when the terrorists struck them.

m4

CHRIST CHURCH BOMBING:

“The church service was about to end when we heard 12-13 gunshots at the main door and within seconds a loud explosion shattered the windowpanes of the church and the nearby shops and houses. We immediately huddled everyone out of the church building from the back door,” said Pastor Ashknaz, whose church was the first to be struck by the terrorists.

The church official said that they later found out that the bomber had first tried to storm the main gate by opening fire at the police and security volunteers but on facing stiff resistance, he had detonated his explosives.

“Most of the 13 casualties that occurred in the Christ Church bombing were of local volunteers, passersby and shopkeepers. The toll would have been much bigger had the bomber been able to enter the hall. It’s only because of the immense bravery shown by our own security volunteers that we have been able to avoid a major catastrophe,” said Pastor Ashknaz while lamenting inadequate security provided by the local police despite the churches being designated as high security zones.

Father Gulzar, pastor in-charge of the Saint John’s Catholic Church, told Pakistan Today that there were at least 1,200 Christians present inside the hall when the attack took place.

“Four policemen were deployed by the local police station but three of them were watching Pakistan’s cricket match with Ireland inside a room while one official and our security volunteers were standing guard at the main gate. The suicide attacker tried to force his way through the main gate but one of our volunteers Yousaf wrestled him down. The terrorist then opened fire on Yousaf and later detonated the explosives strapped to his legs.”

“Another terrorist attempted to enter the church by scaling the wall but a young Christian named Akash Qaiser took him head on, forcing the bomber to set off the explosives. The bombing killed Yousaf, Akash and a police constable but saved hundreds of other lives. Their martyrdoms will always be remembered,” he said.

JAMAATUL AHRAR CLAIMS RESPONSIBILITY:

The Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan’s Jamaatul Ahrar faction described the blasts as suicide attacks and vowed to continue their campaign.

Jamaatul Ahrar has claimed most of the recent bombings at Shia imambargahs, including those at Shikarpur, Peshawar and Islamabad. The terrorist outfit had pledged allegiance to the ultra-extremist Islamic State, also known as Dae’sh, but only three days ago it had announced rejoining the TTP.

inp 15-81

CHRISTIANS ON A RAMPAGE:

Asher Masih, a local Christian, said that the locals were able to catch two suspected terrorists “armed with pistols” soon after the blasts.

The suspects were later brutally tortured by the enraged Christian mob and their bodies burnt on the Ferozepur Road. It was not clear whether they were still alive at the time.

Christians make up around two per cent of Pakistan’s mainly Muslim population of over 200 million. They have been targeted in attacks and riots in recent years.

Sunday’s attacks were the worst on the community since a devastating double suicide-bombing in Peshawar in September 2013 killed 82 people.

That came months after more than 3,000 Muslim protesters torched some 100 houses as they rampaged through Joseph Colony, another Christian neighbourhood of Lahore, following blasphemy allegations against a Christian man.

The thousands of Christian protesters who clashed with police on Sunday attacked cars with stones and sticks, as women wept and beat their heads and chests.

The protesters later turned on the city’s bus rapid transit system — a signature project of the ruling PML-N party of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.

The furious mob also roughed up Senator Kamran Michael of the ruling PML-N and did not allow him to enter the neighbourhood.

“Kamran Michael is a puppet of the Sharifs and it is under his watch that Christians across Punjab are repeatedly targeted by the majority Muslims. Every time an incident of persecution surfaces, Shahbaz Sharif sends Michael to placate us with false promises but this drama would not be tolerated anymore. Christians were right in restricting his entry to the neighbourhood,” said a fuming local who identified himself as Munawar Bhatti.

The angry mobs also held hostage three policemen for watching TV instead of guarding the Catholic church. The officials were released a couple of hours later amid reports that they were also beaten up by the locals.

PML-N GOVT RESPONSIBLE:

A large number of Christian political and church leaders reached Youhanabad soon after the incident as Christians also took to the streets in other cities, including Karachi, where around 200 protesters from Essanagri blocked a main road and burnt tyres. There were also demonstrations in Peshawar, Multan and in Quetta.

Sajid Ishaq, central minorities president of the opposition Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) and chairman of the Pakistan Interfaith League (PIL), and PTI Lahore minorities leader Rufus Solomon, were among those who reached the area soon after the attacks.

Talking to Pakistan Today, Ishaq lamented that Christians and other minority communities continued to suffer from repeated incidents of persecution and terrorism under the PML-N provincial government led by Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif.

“We condemn the attitude of the PML-N government for failing to provide security to minorities’ places of worship. Such incidents will continue to occur unless the ruling party gives up its policy of patronizing terrorist outfits like Lashkar-e-Jhangvi etc. Moreover, big tragedies like Shantinagar, Gojra, Joseph Colony and the lynching of a poor Christian couple at a brick kiln in Kot Radha Kishan has also failed to move the Punjab government,” he said.

“Christians have lost faith in the PML-N and we do not trust the investigation carried out under this government. A judicial commission should be announced to investigate this attack and the report should be made public,” said the two PTI leaders while announcing that Christians in Lahore would come out on the roads on Monday (today) to register their protest against the government.

However, Bishop of Lahore Irfan Jamil appealed to Christians to stay calm and not let terrorists succeed in their design.

“Terrorists want to destroy the peace of this country. They are attacking mosques, imambargahs and markets. Like minorities they are also attacking Muslims,” he said.

Christian educational institutions have, meanwhile, announced closure of schools across Pakistan for one day to mourn the tragic incident while several small political and civil society outfits have announced protests and vigils in the coming days.

The Punjab government has also announced a day’s mourning and a compensation of Rs 500,000 each for the families of those killed in the incident while the injured persons would get Rs 75,000 each.

m6

POLICE DENIES NEGLIGENCE:

Meanwhile, Lahore Deputy Inspector General of Police Dr Haider Ashraf denied negligence on the part of police officials deployed for security of the two churches even as the Punjab government suspended the entire staff of the police station concerned, Nishtar Colony, for not making adequate security arrangements.

The DIG further said, “It was the police and local security that deterred the suicide bombers from entering the churches otherwise the loss would have been colossal.” He added that it is always difficult to stop a suicide bomber.

Commenting on the lynching of the two suspected terrorists, DIG Ashraf said, “We did not stop the enraged mob as there could have been a clash between the police and the mob.”

He said the police have registered two separate cases – one against the attack on the two churches and the other against the people involved in killing of the two suspected terrorists’ who were lynched and burnt alive.

According to an initial police report, the suicide bombers were wearing vests fitted with explosives weighing five kilogrammes each.

Punjab Education and Sports Minister Rana Mashood said the government was determined to eliminate militancy and terrorism and “all terrorists would be brought to justice”.

“We have never looked at religion. Christians are our brothers and we have to deliver for them. We are not separated by religion, this is an attack on Pakistan and we feel their pain,” he said.



Related posts

21 Comments

  1. rizwan said:

    this is un tolerable the terrorists are enemies of all Pakistanis.
    WE CONDEMN

  2. MOHSAN said:

    GOD BLESS PAKISTAN,OUR ENEMIES WILL FAIL TO DESTROY THE PAKISTANI NATION.
    ITS A VERY BAD INCIDENT OF ATTACK ON CHURCHES.
    WE STRONGLY CONDEMN THIS COWARDLY ATTACK.

  3. Naveed said:

    Samson Luqus, bhai is may darny ki baat nai hey.
    these bloody attacker are targeting mosques, churches and schools. actually these culprits want our nation and Pakistani brothers fight each other. they want to make us against each other.
    Let us prayer for the safety of Pakistan, this is global war and suicidal attacker want to ruin Pakistan, this is NOT RELIGIOUS war. we need to root out these blue bodies out of pakistan. WE (christians and Muslims) has to be united, we need to join hand like we did at the time of seperation of pakistan from India and pakistan came into being with mutual effects and sacrifices of christians and muslims
    History always repeat itself. now the time is regain and We need to Join hands.
    Brothers… try to be Pakistani.. not christian, not muslim. Just…. Pakistani…. may God bless pakistan… Amen.

  4. BLA BLA said:

    WHAT DOES IMRANKHAN NIAZI PTI SAY ? WHERE IS MULLA QUADRI

  5. Ibrahim said:

    These Afghan terrorists want to create enemity and divide the peace and growth of Pakistan nation and make it like Afghanistan – with people who cannot go to work or school in peace! The fields will be replaced with poppy plants and we will go back to dark ages..

    TALIBAN's principle is to make everyone poor and themselves rich in the name of fanatic and one-sided religion bringing disgrace to millions of good muslims around the world!

    The Taliban splinter group Jamaat-ul-Ahrar are cowards and if they are real men with guts – they should fight like how the kings used to fight many years back – fix a date with our Pakistani military and whoever wins will rule!

    But, the Taliban are cowards and they choose mosques, churches, malls, schools – where there are innocents who are unarmed…

    These Taliban leaders should be hunted and killed by our Pakistan military first before they kill our leaders!

  6. Tariq Masih said:

    Pakistani govt. is reasponsible 4 this attack Only 2 gun mans r not enough as a security in such place.This should be shameful news 4 pakistani govt.these 2 men r sleeping moreover. such unreasponsible security is not tolerable
    Security should be active atleast
    we Request 2 govt.to tight security in places like churches,mosques,schools etc,
    plz take action on this attack THANKS

  7. aqib ajmal said:

    very sad.
    In sb ko aesa ni karna chahiye tha or awam ko dehshat gard ko ni jalana chahiye tha.

  8. Eddied said:

    Another attack on innocent people by a suicide bomber?…please notice that suicide bombers are always radical Muslims…no one else does this…the Taliban and their murdering ideology that can justify killing in the name of religion is the real enemy of PAKISTAN…

  9. shahbaz said:

    allah pak hum sab pr apni rahmat kary or hamy in hadsat sat mahfooz rakhy ameen

  10. shahbaz younas said:

    sab mil k doa karo k allah apk hamry gonhao ko maf kar day jis ki hamy saza mil rahi ha .or allah un ko b hedayt atta farmy

  11. Tamoor said:

    In Logon ko Insaniyat ka to Khayal Rakhna Chahye. khuda kren k humy in Dehshat Gard Logon Se Najat Mil Jaye

  12. M.Fiaz said:

    Allah Pak Humy In Dehshat Logon Se Najat Dyn ( AMEEN )

  13. christian times said:

    we pray the Comfort and satisfaction for those who lost their lovers and for the recovery of the injured. we condemn and appeal for complete protection of Minorities in Pakistan.

  14. abdulqayyumrao said:

    Sympathizer / Facilitators / and Financiers of Terrorists Taliban ;;;;;

    Taliban’s ” Lashkar e Islam ” has accepted the Responsibility of Bomb Blast and Suicide attack ;;;;; on this Masjid / Imam Bargah of Shia Community

    ;;;Sympathizer / Facilitators / and Financiers of Terrorists Taliban are main Boosters of terroism ;;;;;

    We condemn all Bomb Blast attacks by Taliban any where in Pakistan.Pak Army and Government is requested to Increase the intensity of Zarb E Azb and other security activities against these Taliban ;;;

    As Per ISPR reports , Some of the Taliban terrorists, who attacked the Army school and killed more than 160 students and staff, stayed in “House of a Imam Masjid ” employee of “Irrigation Department’ ,Peshawar (a government employee ) ;;;this is a terrible information ;;

    The Sympathizer / Facilitators / and Financiers are spread and hidden, residing in settled / residential areas with another face in all over Pakistan,They help the Terrorists as and when required ;;;This is not tolerable situation ;; to minimize the bomb attacks, We have to find out these real Taliban (Killers of Humanity) and enemies of Pakistan ;;;In real sense these sympathizer / facilitators / and financiers more dangerous than bomber ;; because suicide bomber finishes after on attempt of killing ,,,But these sympathizer / facilitators / and financiers are breeding / growing up /training / hiding nurseries for the terrorism with an endless job ;; they must be punished /crushed severely ;;;

    It is Observed that these type of Molvi (IMam) , who has deep sympathy with Taliban and they think these distructions by Taliban are a right way , they never Condemn the Bomb Blaster and Suicide attackers in their prayers in Public gatherings ,,
    On the other hand the peace loving Muslims pray and condemn the terrorists and always pray for elimination of Terrorism from Pakistan ;;

    God knows better that, how many IMAMs of Mosques and others Taliban lovers are hidden and facilitating Taliban in their Bomb attacks / Bomb blasts / Suicide attacks against People of Pakistan and Pak Army ;;;Pray for Pakistan peace and safety ;;;;;

  15. abdulqayyumrao said:

    A Strange Narrative by the Government of Pakistan :::
    A Strange Narrative by the Government of

    Pakistan :::

    Government Ruling Politicians, Government high officials , Army forces

    Officials , Politicians , Political Parties, Media Analysts , Anchor persons ,

    Ulmas , Even Parents of Shaheed children of APS Peshawar and all

    others From Peshawar to Karachi are not Calling the name of Terrorists

    (all are saying or calling as Namaloom / Dehshat Gards / Kal adam Jamat

    / Kaladm Tanzeem etc etc ……. ) ;;

    Not Calling by their names as TTP Taliban / lashkar e Jangvi /Lashkar e

    Islam / Jindullah / MQM / BLA etc etc

    Reasons Allah Knows ;;;

    It is bad Luck of our Nation No one is calling their enemy with his name ;; How the nation will fight against them ??????

    Army is fighting / sacrificing their lives against these terrorists and People of Pakistan giving their lives (70000 lives) in Bomb Blasts / Suicide attacks by above mentioned Terrorists ;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;

    What is this strategy and how the terrorism will be eliminated and Pakistan will be safe ;;;

    Sri Lanka (A small Country) Government During fight against (15 Years approx )Terrorism , they Clearly Called their terrorist names ‘’ LTTE ‘’ etc . Sri Lanka managed to eliminate Terrorism from their country Permanently ,,

  16. abdulqayyumrao said:

    MILITANT WINGS AND LASHKARS OF ALL PARTIES ( who have these confidentially) MUST BE CRUSHED FOR EVER FROM PAKISTAN ;;; WITH FORCE ;;; NO BODY SHOULD BE " MAMA" AND " THEKEDAR " OF PAKISTAN '''

    Congratulations Nation ;;; Sympathizer / Facilitators / and Financiers of Terrorists Taliban have reached at highest seat of Senate of Pakistan ;;;;;

    Sad Incident ;;;
    Pakistani nation is Seeing daily ;;;
    Aaj bhi dekha hey ;; another church Bombed by Taliban ;;;
    The peace will be their when Taliban will be treated as MQM is treated.

    All Bomb Blasters and Suicidal attackers are Muslims and Pakistani and Nation must know they belong to a special religious group ;;; they have have showed that Muslim can do this as they are doing continuously ;;;

    TTP (Jamat Al Ahrar) accepted responsibility of attack on Churches at Lahore ;;; Shame on doers ;; We Condemn these attacks ;;;

  17. US CENTCOM said:

    We send our deepest and most heartfelt condolences to the victims’ families. This tragic incident again proves the importance of staying united against the enemies of peace. We stand with the brave nation of Pakistan during these testing times and commend their resolve against terrorism. We have full confidence in the Pakistani government’s ability to restore peace in the nation, and it is our wish and desire to see peace prevail throughout the region, especially Pakistan. We hope the culprits are caught and punished to the fullest extent of the law. Our thoughts and prayers are with everyone who has been affected by this inhumane act of terror.

    Ali Khan
    Digital Engagement Team, USCENTCOM

Comments are closed.

Top