By Zahra Memon
On Easter Sunday, March 26, in Lahore, Pakistan, families of all ethnic backgrounds mingled at the eminent Gulshan-e-Iqbal Park, one of Lahore’s local parks, for a day filled of cricket, rides and boating.
Little did these families know that a calamity was to arise.
That afternoon, a suicide bomb was set off, killing over 70 people and injuring hundreds more. These bombs served a purpose. According to National Public Radio (NPR), the group responsible for this attack was a Taliban faction, Jamaat-ul-Ahrar, residing in Pakistan. Ehsanullah Ehsan, a member of the Taliban faction, stated that the group’s objective was to hurt the Christians in Pakistan. Although Pakistan is a predominantly Muslim country, the nation still has over 2 million Christians residing there, according to Geo News.
“We want to send this message to Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif that we have entered Lahore,” Ehsan said. “He can do what he wants, but he won’t be able to stop us. Our suicide bombers will continue these attacks.”
Moments after the bombs deployed, ambulances were sent to assuage the scene. The government ordered all parks to be shut down and sent out the Punjab troops and armies to protect the park visitors and locals, the New York Times reported. At this time, hundreds of individuals residing in Pakistan headed over to the hospital to donate blood to help those who were severely injured and hurt. Facebook initiated its “Safety Check” tool to affirm people’s safety. A series of technologies were used to bring comfort and safety back into the country.
Police Chief Haider Ashraf told the Associated Press that this explosion took place while families we exiting the park, around 6:30 p.m., hitting near the children’s rides. Reuters reported that a majority of the casualties were women and children.
Kamran Bhatti, 34, from Britain, brought his daughter, 7, to the park for family time. Currently, his daughter is overcoming a leg injury because she was running as swiftly as possible, trying to avoid the bomb, when she rolled over and injured herself.
“I wish I hadn’t brought my daughter to the park today,” Bhatti told the New York Times. “This is the only recreation we can afford for her. What is her fault?”
Shehbaz Sharif, the chief minister of Punjab and the brother of the country’s prime minister, Nawaz Sharif, condemned the attacks of the terrorists.
“Those who targeted innocent citizens do not deserve to be called humans,” Sharif said.
Pakistan has been incessantly facing terrorist insurgency for decades, however, this was the one of the deadliest attacks after the 2014 school massacre in Peshawar, Pakistan.