Nation in mourning after suicide blast in Lahore kills 72, including 29 children

Published: March 27, 2016
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Women mourn the death of relatives after a bomb blast in Lahore on March 27, 2016. PHOTO: AFP

Women mourn the death of relatives after a bomb blast in Lahore on March 27, 2016. PHOTO: AFP

LAHORE / ISLAMABAD: At least 72 people were killed and more than 233 injured when a suicide bomb ripped through the parking space of a crowded park in Lahore where Christians were celebrating Easter Sunday, officials said.

Dozens of ambulances were seen racing to the Gulshan-e-Iqbal Park, situated near Allama Iqbal Town, with many women and children among the dead and wounded.

PHOTO: AFP

Rescue spokesperson Deeba Shahbaz said the toll had risen to 72 Monday, with 29 children among the dead. Senior police official Haider Ashraf confirmed the number killed, adding the majority of the dead were Muslims, AFP reported.

“Christians were not the specific target of this attack because the majority of the dead are Muslims,” he said. “Everybody goes to this park.”

PHOTO: AFP

Lahore’s top administration official Muhammad Usman said 233 were wounded. Late Sunday rescue officials had put the number of injured at more than 300.

Carnage on Easter Sunday

Afghan president offers condolence, condemns Lahore attack

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani on Monday expressed his condolences on the loss of life in Lahore attack and condemned the cowardly act during his telephonic conversation with Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, a statement said.

“Military operation Zarb-e-Azb and the National Action Plan will continue unabated until the scourge of terrorism is eliminated from Pakistan,” PM Nawaz told his Afghan counterpart.

The premier said terrorists were on the run and were targeting soft targets like children and women. “Terrorism has become a serious global challenge. Unfortunately, your country is also faced with this menace,” the prime minister said.

“The scourge of terrorism and extremism has to be countered with coordinated efforts at regional and international levels,” he added.

Imran demands military operation against terrorists in Punjab

Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chairman Imran Khan has demanded a military operation against terrorists in Punjab.

Talking to media outside Lahore’s Jinnah Hospital, where Imran arrived to inquire after victims of the Sunday’s blast, he said: “It is high time for the government to implement the National Action Plan and develop a consensus to go after terrorists in whichever province they are seeking refuge.”

AN EXPRESS NEWS SCREENGRAB

The PTI chief said government had failed to provide security to the masses and that it must revisit its priorities. “Instead of spending billions of rupees on train projects, the rulers need to set their priorities right as there could be no investment without security.”

Further, Imran suggested that the police in every province should be depoliticised on an immediate basis to counter such attacks. “If we keep using the police for making personal and political gains it won’t work out,” he said.

“There should not be political-based hiring in the police and similarly the transfers and postings should not be done on political references,” he added.

Regarding his visit to the hospital, Imran said he curtailed it due to a large number of people present inside the hospital. “People are seriously injured and I didn’t go any further in the ward because there are a lot of people here and it will create difficulties for the patients,” he said.

Earlier, Imran slammed the attack and said: “It is strictly against the teachings of our Holy Prophet (pbuh) and basic principles of Islam.”

PM directs LEA’s to step up counter-terror operations in southern Punjab

PM Nawaz on Monday directed law enforcement agencies to step up counter-terror operations against terrorists and their abettors in southern Punjab, Express News reported.

The prime minister issued these orders to the LEA’s while chairing a high-level meeting at the Chief Minister House in Lahore to review the Sunday’s terror attack and overall strategy against terrorists after he visited victims at the Jinnah Hospital.

PHOTO: AFP

PM Nawaz said the goal of his government was not only to eliminate terror infrastructure from the country but also the extremist mind-set which, he said, was a threat to our way of life. “It is imperative for us to win the war on terror. Our resolve as a nation and as a government is getting stronger and coward enemy is trying to hit soft targets,” he said.

Further, the prime minister directed proactive coordination between law enforcement and intelligence agencies. “Provinces should speed up intelligence based operation against terrorists. We must take this war to the doors of terror outfits before they are able to hit our innocent countrymen,” he said.

“Terrorists have assassinated my kids, sons and daughters in this war and god willing we will wipe them out from this country,” the prime minister added.

Earlier, participants of the meeting were briefed by head of law enforcement and intelligence agencies on the progress made in different leads regarding the Lahore terror attack.

Several suspects arrested, arms recovered from parts of Punjab, claims ISPR

Pakistan Army along with intelligence agencies and Rangers have arrested a number of suspected terrorists and their facilitators while recovering a huge cache of arms and ammunition from different parts of Lahore, Faisalabad and Multan, ISPR said on Monday.

“Intelligence agencies with Army & Rangers carried out five operations in Lahore, Faisalabad and Multan since last night,” head of military’s media wing, ISPR, Lt-Gen Asim Saleem Bajwa claimed in one of his Twitter messages.

Bajwa further said Chief of Army Staff General Raheel Sharif was apprised of the progress of operation in the Punjab during a high-level meeting at the General Headquarters of the Pakistan Army in Rawalpindi.

Punjab CM announces compensation for Lahore attack victims

Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif has announced a compensation of Rs1 million for the family of each deceased in Lahore attack, Express News reported on Monday.

PHOTO: AFP

The provincial chief minister further announced Rs0.3 million for the injured and Rs0.15 million for those who received minor injuries in the incident.

PM arrives in Lahore

The prime minister arrived in Lahore early on Monday morning. The premier was accompanied by Federal Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar.

PM Nawaz also visited victims of the blast at Lahore’s Jinnah Hospital.

The army had been called in, he said, and soldiers were at the scene helping with rescue operations and security.

Senior police official Haider Ashraf said the blast appeared to be a suicide attack, adding that ball bearings were found at the crowded park.

A medical superintendent at Jinnah Hospital, who gave his name only as Dr Ashraf, told AFP more than 40 dead bodies had arrived at the hospital.

“The number of injured stands at more than 200 people, most of them are in critical condition,” he said. I fear the death toll will rise.”

He described a nightmarish scene at the hospital, with staff treating casualties on floors and in corridors.

Javed Ali, a 35-year-old resident who lives opposite park, said the force of the blast had shattered his home’s windows.

Police claim to have identified Lahore bomber

“Everything was shaking, there were cries and dust everywhere.

“After ten minutes I went outside. There was human flesh on the walls of our house. People were crying, I could hear ambulances.”

Men mourn the death of their relatives after a blast outside a public park in Lahore, March 27, 2016. PHOTO: REUTERS

He added: “It was overcrowded because of Easter, there were a lot of Christians there. It was so crowded I told my family not to go.”

Witnesses describe children screaming as people carried the injured in their arms. Doctors describe frenzied scenes at hospitals, with staff treating casualties on floors and in corridors.

PHOTO: AFP

Meanwhile, all schools under the All Pakistan Private Schools Federation remained closed on Monday, Express News reported.

Punjab chief minister announces three days of mourning

Punjab Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif has announced three-day mourning after the suicide attack.

He also sought a report from IG Punjab about the incident.

US condemns ‘cowardly attack’

The United States condemned as “cowardly” the suicide attack, vowing to work with Pakistan to defeat those sowing terror in the country.

Resurrection Day: Deadly terrorist attack mars Easter Sunday activities

“The United States condemns in the strongest terms today’s appalling terrorist attack in Lahore, Pakistan,” National Security Council spokesperson Ned Price said in a White House statement.

“This cowardly act in what has long been a scenic and placid park has killed dozens of innocent civilians and left scores injured.”

“We will continue to work with our partners in Pakistan and across the region, as together we will be unyielding in our efforts to root out the scourge of terrorism,” added Price.

British PM condemns the Lahore blast

“I’m shocked by the terrorist attack in Lahore. My thoughts are with the families and friends of the victims. We will do what we can to help,” David Cameron tweeted.

Modi telephones PM Nawaz Sharif, condemns blast

Indian’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi telephoned PM Nawaz and expressed his grief over Lahore bomb blast.

“The coward terrorists attacked children and women” Modi said on Sunday. “It’s condemnable to attack innocent children and women. We are with Pakistani nation at the time of this grief movement.”

TTP’s Jamaatul Ahrar claims responsibility

A Pakistan Taliban splinter group claimed responsibility for the deadly suicide attack.

“We carried out the Lahore attack as Christians are our target,” Ehansullah Ehsan, spokesman for the hardline Jamaat-ul-Ahrar faction of the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), told AFP by telephone from an undisclosed location.

He said the group would carry out more such attacks, vowing to target schools and colleges alongside government and military interests.

COAS chairs high-level meeting

Following the blast, Chief of Army Staff General Raheel Sharif chaired a high-level meeting in Rawalpindi.

Timeline of deadliest insurgent attacks in Pakistan

According to the ISPR, the army chief directed the authorities concerned to find linkages and perpetrators of the Lahore blast at the earliest.

Malala ‘devastated’ 

I am devastated by the senseless killing of innocent people in Lahore, Malala Yousufzai said in a statement following the attack.

Kohli ‘deeply saddened’ 

Indian cricketer said he was “deeply saddened to hear about the Lahore attacks.”

UN’s Ban condemns ‘appalling’ attack

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on Sunday condemned the Easter Day suicide bombing, calling it an “appalling” act of terrorism.

“The secretary general strongly condemns the suicide bombing today at Gulshan-i-Iqbal Park in the Pakistani city of Lahore,” a UN statement said.

“The secretary general calls for the perpetrators of this appalling terrorist act to be brought swiftly to justice, consistent with human rights obligations.”

Rickshaw blast: Cylinder explosion leaves two dead in Lahore

Ban called on the Islamabad government “to do its utmost to put in place protective measures to ensure the personal security of all individuals, including religious minority communities living in the country.”

The UN secretary-general added that he “extends his heartfelt condolences to the victims and their families, and expresses his solidarity with the people and government of Pakistan.”

Erdogan expresses condolences

Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan called the prime minister and conveyed condolences on the loss of life in Lahore attack.

According to a statement, the PM said terrorism had become a serious global challenge, and reiterated condemnation of terrorist attacks in Turkey, including the recent incident in Ankara.

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Reader Comments (46)

  • Brainy Bhaijan
    Mar 27, 2016 - 7:33PM

    Gets to show their weakness and desperation when they blatantly attack unsuspecting bystanders. Recommend

  • Voice of Pakistan
    Mar 27, 2016 - 8:32PM

    RAW is behind terrorism in Pakistan

    But nawaz government never utters

    a single word against RAW and india

    because nawaz family has business

    interests in india.Recommend

  • Ashraf P
    Mar 27, 2016 - 9:39PM

    What kind of madness is this?? Condolences to the families who lost their loved ones.Recommend

  • sabi
    Mar 27, 2016 - 9:52PM

    This is no doubt the mullah which has threatened to paralyze the country like in 1977. JI is the cancer without removing it no hope for peace in this country.Recommend

  • Tariq Nawaz
    Mar 27, 2016 - 9:57PM

    It is apparent who did it.The question is how the govt will protect it’s citizens from such atrocities.Recommend

  • sabi
    Mar 27, 2016 - 10:02PM

    Whole nation knows it’s the religious parties responsible for the bloodshed in the country but our rulers don’t. Every terror link lead to JI but no action is taken against this biggest enemy.Recommend

  • Ahmed
    Mar 27, 2016 - 10:30PM

    Assaulters of Junaid Jamshed & criminals of this heinous crime today in Lahore should be dealth in the same way. Recommend

  • Vaibhav India
    Mar 27, 2016 - 11:00PM

    O my god……my blood Boil’s seeing innocent people slaughtered like this…….these demons are not human….
    Pakistan should shoot all these bastard’s without any trail…..
    I feel the pain here ……
    ……..all those religious extremists must be gunned down …otherwise humanity will suffer……Recommend

  • Azi
    Mar 27, 2016 - 11:56PM

    Watch people forget this incident like Peshawar school attack in a matter of 2 days. Its what is the greatest curse of our people.Recommend

  • Yakoob
    Mar 28, 2016 - 12:16AM

    What tragedy and pain this perverted ideology is creating. The Nation M. A. Jinnah envisaged is being consumed from inside out.
    If this poisonous ideology is not eliminated Pakistan’s survival as a Nation State will be threatened. Leaders should stop using these perverted snakes as a VOTE BANK. These animals will consume all in its path of destruction. Recommend

  • Humza
    Mar 28, 2016 - 12:25AM

    Every now and then, the cowards who attack children and innocent people slip through and show how inhuman they are but people need to stay united and firm in the face of such barbarism. Just like in Paris or Bruselles or Anakara, people need to stand together and not be cowed by these types of criminals. They are being defeated.Recommend

  • Fahim
    Mar 28, 2016 - 12:35AM

    The tentacles of the Mossad-RAW-CIA have wraped themselves around Pakistan. CIA does the drone killings. RAW provides the local knowledge and Mossad does deep spying and secret operations. Recommend

  • Gregory
    Mar 28, 2016 - 12:52AM

    This all Leads back to governmental leaders who promulgate these horrific wars primarily in third world countries . which unleash these monster religious fanatics who not only consume members of other religions but of their own religion, the blood of the innocent men and women today and children today are on the hands of the governmental leaders who fostered these monsters, through other religious fanatical governments like Saudi Arabia and Turkey. God’s ruthless unmerciful judgement will one day fall upon all those who ruthlessly murdered the innocent women children and men to in Pakistan on 03/27/2016.Recommend

  • Observer
    Mar 28, 2016 - 1:07AM

    Our agencies are carrying out operations in Balochistan and Sindh. Recently captured Indian RAW agent. WHEN will our same agencies launch or focus their operation in the main hub of extremism and terrorism i-e Punjab. Bring peace to our Punjabi brothers and sisters by getting rid of those fanatics and terrorists. Recommend

  • PakistaniChristian
    Mar 28, 2016 - 1:58AM

    Father forgive them for they know not what they(terrorists) do.
    Christianity is based on love and forgiveness.
    We pray for all people including Muslims for God to give them wisdom and fill them with Christ’s love.Recommend

  • Suleman Samuel
    Mar 28, 2016 - 3:13AM

    It is so sad moment for Christians and all Pakistanis..
    Today we were celebrating the Easter’s celebration but the terrorist hit us…
    No matter. .
    We do not afraid of these attacks.
    Although, these attacks encourage us to stand against these slugy creatures these terrorist.
    We are proud on our martyrs that the Christians blood is also added in our mother’s land soil of Pakistan. .Recommend

  • DaraShikoh
    Mar 28, 2016 - 4:12AM

    The snakes that were reared to hurt the neighbor has come back to bite your own women and children. As you sow, so you shall reap goes the saying.

    Unfortunate incidents like this will continue to occur till state sponsored terrorism is not stopped.Recommend

  • Kolsat
    Mar 28, 2016 - 5:43AM

    I am amazed that there no comment here from those who write when Muslims are by other Muslims. Is it because Christians are killed?Recommend

  • harkol
    Mar 28, 2016 - 5:54AM

    PrayForPakistan is trending at top in India. I am an atheist and do not pray.

    But, I do fervently wish the best for people of Pakistan & hope they will have a deliverance from these mindless, heartless, senseless barbarians.Recommend

  • Maqsood
    Mar 28, 2016 - 5:55AM

    Intolerance, hate, and bigotry are the hallmarks of fascism. Recommend

  • Irfan_Sydney
    Mar 28, 2016 - 6:39AM

    “With or without religion, you would have good people doing good things and evil people doing evil things. But for good people to do evil things, that takes religion.”
    ― Steven WeinbergRecommend

  • Ana Al Haq
    Mar 28, 2016 - 6:59AM

    For one who has taken his birth, death is certain; and for one who is dead, birth is certain. Therefore, in the unavoidable discharge of your duty, you should not lament.- BG

    Condolences to the families and friends of the departed and prayers with the injured.Recommend

  • DPR
    Mar 28, 2016 - 8:08AM

    When will Pakistani Leadership mature and take strong steps towards peace and development for its own people.
    No one, not even enemy deserves this and these people are targeting their own people, ruthlessly. Does anyone know, What they want??Recommend

  • Mar 28, 2016 - 10:08AM

    Inna Lillahe WA Inna Ilaihe Rajeoon. Ameen.
    Mindless savagery! Yes, there can be no reasoning with maniacal mentors who teach perverse ideology. Killing women and children is something terrifying.
    The question arises where is NACTA and NDMA? What is going on in Islamabad’s corridors regarding the safety of the cities? It seems we will have to do it ourselves. Salams Recommend

  • manoj
    Mar 28, 2016 - 11:35AM

    @Yakoob:

    Mr. Jinnah did exactly same thing with pre partitioned India. He consumed it from inside out, just fulfil his ego. Use religion as basis of nationhood. An educated lawyer, he new very well that religion can never be basis for nationhood, other wise all middle east countries would have been on nation and similarly Europe / US / Australia one nation. China and Japan both Buddhist country fought bitter war.

    Pakistan is paying price of act of it’s founder and his flickering mindset and thought.

    God bless people of Pakistan.Recommend

  • KB
    Mar 28, 2016 - 11:42AM

    This sad event will bring robust sale for computer games as people will not let their children go to the parks. What a pity! Recommend

  • Last Word
    Mar 28, 2016 - 12:00PM

    RIP Pakistan urgently requires to review its policy of supporting good terrorists which are mostly stationed in Punjab as others who are fighting the state have close links with them. This self-destructive policy has outlived its benefits against neighbours will only hurt Pakistan namely death, destruction, war with neighbours and economic collapse of the country.Recommend

  • AS
    Mar 28, 2016 - 12:02PM

    Who are these so-called Taliban & their splinter groups working for? And how and where are they operating from? We need a thorough operation clean-up of these groups and their facilitators no matter where they may be based. This requires the activation of the whole governmental and civil machinery, not just operations by our armed forces. Intelligence agencies need to get their work done thoroughly, the police department needs to be activated, plain-clothes personnel to be deputed throughout the cities and junctions, from where monitoring of every dubious person or vehicle should be carried out….and so on….it will take a lot of dedicated and pro-active effort to root out these internal and external trouble-makers…our government really needs to pull up its socks… Recommend

  • Raja
    Mar 28, 2016 - 12:11PM

    We must get rid of this madness in the name of religion otherwise we all are doomed. Recommend

  • Khalid rashid
    Mar 28, 2016 - 1:08PM

    Our survival as a nation lies in two things ; declare Pakistan as a secular country like BD has done and secondly all extremist groups and parties be banned .

    I know it is difficult to take such drastic actions
    But countrymen there is no other solution .we will suffer like this till we perishRecommend

  • Zubaid
    Mar 28, 2016 - 3:19PM

    really shocking…Recommend

  • Mar 28, 2016 - 4:24PM

    What happened to the national action plan? It is the responsibility of the elected government to safeguard the lives of common citizens..Recommend

  • Gaurav
    Mar 28, 2016 - 5:04PM

    What a tragedy. We need to act together to overcome this cancer that’s spreading in our society. Let peace prevail, let these martyrs be a haunting reminder for all of us of our own apathy. People, particularly in our part of the world, must join hands for our own survival.Recommend

  • Feroz
    Mar 28, 2016 - 5:11PM

    My deepest condolences to the families of the deceased. May their Souls rest in Peace.Recommend

  • Rex Minor
    Mar 28, 2016 - 5:12PM

    We must take this war to the doors of terrorist outfits before they are able to hit our innocent country men,” PM Nawaz said.

    Is this the call for zarbe e zarb 2 in Punjab to save the christian community? Shame nothing but shame is what the people of Lahore should feel for what has occurred in their famous city! They the people should have taken more care of the minority communities, not the army or the police of sharifs?

    Rex Minor Recommend

  • Adnan Ad
    Mar 28, 2016 - 6:00PM

    Lahoree are great nation. But unfortunately Lahore is in deep sorrow
    We will never forgot this barbarianism but Lahoreee are Great we will again on track after soyamRecommend

  • US CENTCOM
    Mar 28, 2016 - 6:45PM

    It is heart wrenching to see the devastation caused by this horrific act of terror. Words cannot describe the inhumane nature of this attack. According to various reports, the death toll has risen to over 70, and many of the dead are said to be children. The brutal nature of this attack leaves us shocked and speechless. These terrorist have again shown they will drop to the level beyond our imagination to push their terrorist agenda forward. It is being reported that the Pakistani Army and Rangers will conduct a widespread operation across Punjab to target militants, their facilitators and their hideouts. We stand with the nation of Pakistan during these testing times and have full confidence in the government’s ability to negate the threat of terrorism.
    We also send our deepest heartfelt condolences to the victims’ friends and families. We sincerely hope and pray that they find the strength to get through this extremely difficult time.

    Ali Khan
    Digital Engagement Team, USCENTCOMRecommend

  • Viraf Mehta
    Mar 28, 2016 - 7:13PM

    Humanity has lost all perspective. So very unfortunate that the most vulnerable people are targeted by these inhuman creatures. Prayers for the departed souls and may the Lord give strength to the survivors and the family members left behind.

    It is indeed shameful. Let us wake up and ensure that such carnages never happen. Recommend

  • bigsaf
    Mar 28, 2016 - 8:16PM

    People are still in denial about Islamist extremism and rather cook up delusional conspiracies of foreign agencies.

    Posting this again. My heart goes out to the Christian community and other Pakistani victims. Need to crush these terrorist monsters and their ideology.They are mocking the dead. Pray for Lahore, Pray for London. Recommend

  • bigsaf
    Mar 28, 2016 - 8:44PM

    @Kolsat:
    I think your allegation is baseless. There are Muslim commentators here who already are condemning. I’m sure a good deal of posts are not being posted for some reason, as mine wasn’t earlier and 30 comments are generally too few for a major story as this. Pray for Lahore, Pray for Pakistan. Recommend

  • Mar 28, 2016 - 8:48PM

    May ALLAH rest the innocent souls in peace and save our country ( Aameen)Recommend

  • sylvestre conceicao
    Mar 28, 2016 - 9:33PM

    Only Pakistani’s died irrespective of they being Muslims or Christians – 90% of them children – forget about race, religion or colour. innocent people just like you and me died in this cowrdly terrorist act.
    God have mercy on their soul and give their families the solace to bear their grief and losses.
    Also we pray for all those killed in Brussels and all around the world by terrorists.Recommend

  • Sandip
    Mar 29, 2016 - 1:23AM

    These barbarians will stop at nothing. The only way they can be stopped is by eliminating them. Our hearts go out to those grieving families. Pakistan government should realize fast that these blood thirsty monsters cannot be assets. So long as even one such monster is alive, he will give protection to others of his type. There is no such thing as good taliban. They are all the same.Recommend

  • VGP
    Mar 29, 2016 - 2:53AM

    @Yakoob: This is a nation created by Jinnha for his own ego and power, now live with the curse for everRecommend

  • Maha Saad
    Mar 29, 2016 - 8:08PM

    @Kolsat:
    Dear Kolsat….a wrong perception is spread everywhere that christians are targetted and those are killed…..99% muslims are killed in actual…. check and analyse the reports closelyRecommend

  • eddied
    Mar 29, 2016 - 8:11PM

    @Fahim:

    The bomber was identified and he was a Pakistani living in a religious school for the last eight years?… your conspiracy theories about foreign involvement are completely wrong..Recommend

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