Two Youhanabad-Lahore churches became targets of ruthless suicide bombers on Sunday, March 15, 2015. Fifteen innocent worshipers, out of a pretty large number, engrossed in Sunday prayers at the time of the brutal attack lost their valuable lives in the dastardly attack and 75 suffered minor to major injuries. As reported in the print media the death toll could have been larger had it not been for the security guards, on duty at the time of the attack, who blocked access of the suicide bombers to the churches. It was also reported that the audacious Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) faction Jamaat-ul-Ahrar claimed responsibility for the twin attacks at St. John’s Catholic Church and Christ Church School, situated at a distance of around 400 meters from each other.
It was reported in the Print Media that at least 2,000 worshipers, who were attending the services at both the churches remained safe due to the bravery of the security guards. Children and women were among the victims. Two policemen also lost their lives in the attack. Fears are being expressed that the death toll might increase further as the condition of 20 badly injured people is stated to be critical. The tragedy naturally sent a wave of anger amongst the Christian community not only in Lahore, but across the length and breadth of the country. The Christian community, particularly in the city of Lahore, in fact, went too far in venting their anger over the tragic death of their community members in the terror attack of March 15. Apart from destroying public properties and damaging public and private vehicles they, out of sheer rage, made human torch of two suspected men who may or may not have been involved in the dastardly attack.
The suicide bombing on the Lahore churches in which 15 valuable lives were lost is condemnable in the strongest terms. The civilized society everywhere in the world has strongly condemned the ruthless killing of the Christian worshipers by the barbaric terrorists. Pope Francis from Vatican City, immediately on receiving the news of the tragedy, profoundly condemned the two suicide attacks on the churches in Lahore-Pakistan. The government of Pakistan too intensely condemned the attack on the Lahore churches, and deeply sympathized with the members of the bereaved families of those who lost their near and dear ones in the attack.
The fact of the matter is that the terrorist attack on the Lahore churches was an attack on Pakistan. It should not be taken as an attack on a particular religious sect or community. The terrorists, the whole world knows, have killed more Muslims than people belonging to any other religion or sect in the country. Mosques, Imambargahs and places of learning have fallen victim to the barbaric acts of the ruthless terrorists in greater numbers. It must, therefore, be clearly understood by every segment of the society that terrorism knows no bounds and the terrorists attack on any segment of the society is, in fact, an attack on Pakistan. We will have to stand united, as Pakistanis, to win the war against terrorism and wipe out this menace from our society once and for all.
M FAZAL ELAHI