Bombing leaves behind playground buried with hopes, dreams

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There was only one ticket. Sahil, 7, and his sister were fighting over who would go first on the ride, when the explosion broke them apart.

“I was so scared. I looked for Bhaiya, but I only found his body,” said little Angel at her brother’s funeral on Monday.

Of the 72 killed in the blast which rocked Gulshan-e-Iqbal Park on Sunday, 29 were children, all there to celebrate the weekend, which was also Easter Holiday for the large Christian minority in the city.

Sahil’s mother, a widow, said she did not want her children to go to the park.

“But they were excited. And I let them go with their paternal aunt.”

She called to check on them at 6pm in the evening. “They said they were coming home. But my son’s body greeted me.”

“God, show these terrorists the right path. No mother should ever have to go through my ordeal,” she wailed.

For seven-year-old Sameena, a holiday trip to Lahore became the last trip she ever took. She lost a long battle with death at Jinnah Hospital on Monday morning.

The family of five from Sanghar took a trip to Lahore to visit their friend Amjad.

In the blast, Sameena lost her father, maternal uncle and brother. Her mother has been missing since the incident. Their host Amjad, his wife Zubeida, and their daughter lost their lives in the attack.

If death brings with it finality, families of victims who went missing in the blast are still waiting for news.

Saqawat Nizamani and his 16-year-old son Fazeel Nizamani have been left injured from the blast. But his two sons — 8 year old Rohail and 12 year old Ali Abbas are still missing. The family was visiting Lahore on a holiday.

The attack on Sunday evening in the busy Gulshan-i-Iqbal park killed mostly women and children enjoying an Easter weekend outing. Pakistan, a majority-Muslim country, has a Christian population of more than 2 million.

Sunday’s terrorist attack was the deadliest in since the December 2014 massacre of 134 school children at Army Public School in the city of Peshawar that prompted a military-led crackdown on militancy and terrorism.

“We must bring the killers of our innocent brothers, sisters and children to justice and will never allow these savage inhumans to over-run our life and liberty,” military spokesman Asim Bajwa said in a post on Twitter.

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s office condemned the blast as a cowardly act and said a response had been ordered, without elaborating.