Over 88 killed in twin gun-and-bomb attacks

Published: May 29, 2010
Email

At least 88 people were killed and over 200 injured as terrorists attacked Friday congregations of the Ahmadis in twin assaults in Lahore, rescue officials said.

Two terrorists armed with AK-47 rifles and hand grenades stormed the Baitul Noor ibbatdatgah of the Ahmadiyya community in Model Town, killing at least 19 people and injuring about 75, eyewitnesses and officials told The Express Tribune.

Simultaneously, another 69 were killed and 125 injured as three gunmen wearing suicide vests ambushed security guards at the main gate of their place of worship, the Darul Zikr on Allama Iqbal Road in the Garhi Shahu area of Lahore.

Eyewitness Rizvan Ahmed said the terrorists entered the main hall during the Friday sermon and began firing indiscriminately at the worshippers, lobbing hand grenades at the panicked crowd. “One of the attackers blew himself up near Munir Ahmed Sheikh, head of the Lahore Jamaat Ahmadiyya (JA), killing him and many others. The second attacker who had been firing from a minaret detonated himself inside the hall, he added. The attackers then took the worshippers hostage.

JA management official Munnawer Shahid told The Express Tribune that at 11 am that day, a bearded man had asked about who would be delivering the Friday sermon. Upon being told about Sheikh, the man asked to meet him. “I refused and he said we’d meet again at 1:30 pm… Exactly at 1:30 that afternoon, we were attacked,” said Shahid.

According to Baitul Noor security in-charge Waseem Ahmad Butt, around 2,200 people had gathered to offer prayers at the time the attackers first fired at the main gate, killing the security guard. Butt says Ahmadiyya community murrabi (circle spiritual leader) Lt General (retd) Ch Nasir Ahmad was among the targets and he died on the spot.

Two of the attackers who were armed with suicide jackets, automatic weapons and leather sheets entered the main building then and began firing at the window panes before lobbing a grenade into the main hall, added Butt.

Police arrived about 25 minutes after a worshipper called for help, reported Express 24/7. DG Rescue 1122 and awaiting ambulances were allowed in once the police arrived.

The police used Armoured Personnel Carrier (APC) vehicles to rescue the hostages and to bring out the injured and the dead. Qamar Sultan Ahmed, one of the hostages, told The Express Tribune that the terrorists must have had a map of the building as they went straight from the entrance to the main hall and opened fire.

While no one has claimed responsibility for the attacks as yet, Lahore Commissioner Khusro Pervez said that Indian involvement, possibly of intel agency RAW, cannot be ruled out as yet.

Pervez also admitted the attacks were the result of “a security lapse” and that an investigation would be carried out on the reasons behind the inadequate security.

Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif has sought reports from the IG Punjab as well as concerned law enforcement agencies who will submit a preliminary investigation report Friday night.

Ahmadiyya community spokesman Saleemuddin told The Express Tribune that over 75 of their members were killed and that the “government has failed to provide them security and protect their lives and property in the country”, adding that the Ahmadis had already informed the law security agencies about the terrorists’ threat but was not taken seriously.

See related stories on page 5

Published in the Express Tribune, May 29th, 2010.

Facebook Conversations

Reader Comments (5)

  • Malik Rashid
    May 29, 2010 - 4:18PM

    Faithful Killers, Fatal Worship

    Friday prayer congregation at two Ahmadiyya mosques were attacked by grenades and gun-fire in Lahore. More than 80 individuals lost their lives and over 100 suffered wounds. Taliban of Punjab claimed responsibility.

    Journalists reporting the hour long brutality could have been surprised to know that Ahmadiyya worship places cannot be referred as ‘mosques’, according to a constitutional amendment introduced by General Zia-ul-Haq. The two Ahmadiyya mosques that were attacked, represent two different Ahmadi sects.

    Ahmadiyya is a sect that came into being in early 20th century among Punjabi Muslims. A few years later this new sect split over leadership and difference on faith. Besides making fantastic claims like all other religions, Ahmadis relinquished Jihad(Holy war) by sword, and resolved to rely on the power of argument.

    Persecution of Ahmadis in Pakistan is as old as the country itself. The army had to take control of Lahore in 1953 to quell anti-Ahmadi riot. Muslim League, the ruling party in Punjab at the time under Mumtaz Daulatana had the help of Ahmadi-hater Ahrar group in the election of 1951.

    a prominent TV journalist was recently caught on tape talking to Punjabi Taliban against Ahmadis and America. Attempt to show strength against Facebook by religious sections did not gain much support among Muslims in Pakistan and abroad. This brutality against unarmed, innocent worshipers today could have been another show-off by Islamic extremists who fear extinction.

    As families in Lahore grieve the demise of their loved ones, Pakistanis all over the world feel perplexed over the resolve of those who should be fighting the scourge of Taliban.Recommend

  • Engr.Arif
    May 30, 2010 - 12:43AM

    It’s false that the boycott against FB is not successes, its strongly success-ed Recommend

  • Taalay
    May 30, 2010 - 4:04AM

    There are two Ahmadi sects, however BOTH the mosques belonged to only one of the sects. They belonged to The Ahmadiyya Muslim community (Qadianis) which is the original and by far the largest of the two sects with their numbers in the tens of millions. The other sect are the Lahori Ahmadis. They have some differences in belief and are far smaller. They were not involved in this particular incident.Recommend

  • Farrukh Siddiqui
    May 30, 2010 - 5:35AM

    Only a callous, heartless, cruel, inhuman, and bigoted soul would disucss today if the places of worship should be called mosques or not. Wake up and fight against the barbarians who are destroyng Pakistan.Recommend

  • Malik Rashid
    May 30, 2010 - 8:04PM

    Taalay
    Thanks for the correction. A recent TV program was the source of my misinformation. I would like to add a bit of history to my above post. Governor General had dismissed Chief Minister Daulatana after the riot in 1953.Recommend

More in Punjab