LAHORE: Seven years have passed since two Ahmadi worship places were attacked in Lahore on May 28, 2010, but the masterminds and perpetrators of these attacks are still at large.
In January this year, an anti-terrorism court had sentenced an accused to death and his accomplice to life imprisonment for the attack on Ahmadi worship place in Model Town. Both the accused were overpowered by Ahmadis in the worship place and later handed over to the police. However, no one is arrested nor brought to the book for attacking or facilitating the attack at the other worship place in Garhi Shahu the same day. At least 72 worshipers were killed in Garhi Shahu while 22 died in the Model Town attack. In the following days, the death toll surged to 104. The Punjabi Taliban claimed the responsibility for these attacks.
A survivor from Model Town, Amjad Ahmed*, told The Express Tribune he has lost hopes for any justice as his community has already suffered a lot for handing over two attackers to police after overpowering them. He said they were pressurised by the police several times in the name of investigation. He said both the accused have been kept in custody for seven years but none of their handlers or facilitators were arrested.
Amjad said the twin attacks have made the lives of Ahmadis more difficult.
Munawar Ahmed*, a survivor of Garhi Shahu attack, told The Express Tribune that those long four hours of attack can never be forgotten. He said he with 41 other worshippers hid in the staircase of the long minaret of the worship place.
“It was hard for so many people to adjust in thats short place in a hot weather and that too for four long hours, but it was love and compassion for each other which made it possible,” he said.
“We were in contact with our families on the phone,” Ahmed said, adding that when he came out alive, his two sons standing out of the worship place hardly believed that he was alive after 31 grenades and two suicide bombings went off inside. Spokesperson for Jamaat-e-Ahmadia Pakistan Saleemuddin believes that the silence over the plight of Ahmadis could lead to more such attacks.
*Names have been changed to protect the identity of persons involved.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 29th, 2017.