PESHAWAR: Non-Muslims in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) have strongly condemned the twin bomb attacks on two churches in Youhanabad neighbourhood of Lahore city on Sunday which claimed 14 lives and left 75 people injured.
While speaking to The Express Tribune, Awami National Party’s Secretary for non-Muslim Affairs in Peshawar, Augustin Jacob, said the federal government has not learnt a lesson from previous terrorist attacks.
He said worship places of non-Muslims, Christians in particular, are targeted but Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif fails to protect them each time. If the prime minister has not been able to protect his native land of Lahore how will he be able to curb militancy in the entire country, questioned Jacob.
In Peshawar, people, including members of civil society and various minority groups, gathered outside the K-P Assembly building to protest the tragic incident.
The bishop of Church of Pakistan K-P chapter, Shahzad Murad, led a protest march that started from Lahori Gate at around 3pm and passed through Catholic Church Kohati Gate and Dabgari Gardens. The protesters later joined another demonstration headed by All Pakistan Hindu Rights Movement Chairman Haroon Sarbdiyal.
The protesters chanted slogans against the Punjab government and demanded action against terrorists. “Why did the police reach the blast site late?” asked a protester, adding the federal and provincial governments must review their security plans.
A similar protest rally was held in Mardan. Protesters gathered outside the Mardan Press Club and demanded security for all churches in the country to secure innocent lives. Christian leaders Ashir Yousaf Masih and Bishop Jimmy Mathew urged Christians to remain peaceful.
Chief Minister Pervez Khattak has condemned the bomb blasts that occurred near the churches during Sunday mass. In a condolence message issued from his office on Sunday, he termed the attack a cowardly act of terrorists.
Published in The Express Tribune, March 16th, 2015.