Yesterday in Lahore, Pakistan, a suicide bomber detonated explosives in a parking lot near a children's swing set in Gulshan-e-Iqbal Park, one of Lahore's largest public parks, where many families had gathered for an Easter celebration. At least 69 people were killed and around 300 more were injured.
Jamaat-e-Ahrar, a splinter faction of the Pakistani Taliban, claimed responsibility for the blast. Its spokesman, Ehsanullah Ehsan, said in a statement that Christians were the target.Some early reports have said that, because of the location and timing of the attack, most of the people killed and injured were children and women. Clearly, the attack was designed to do maximum damage to the civilian population.
It was the third bombing in Pakistan in this month alone, a reminder that even as the military has cracked down on extremists over the past two years, Islamist groups remain a potent threat.
...The Jamaat-e-Ahrar spokesman, Mr. Ehsan, said the bombing "was also to give a message to government that it cannot deter us even in their stronghold, Lahore." Lahore, the capital of Punjab Province, is the hometown of Pakistan's prime minister, Nawaz Sharif; his younger brother, Shahbaz Sharif, is the chief minister of the province.
...The State Department condemned the attack. "Attacks like these only deepen our shared resolve to defeat terrorism around the world, and we will continue to work with our partners in Pakistan and across the region to combat the threat of terrorism," it said in a statement.
I take up space in solidarity with the people of Lahore who were targeted by this heinous act of massive violence.
My deepest condolences to those who lost family, friends, neighbors, and/or colleagues in the attack. My sympathies to the entire community, to those who were injured, and to those who survived without physical injury but will be left with lasting trauma. What an unfathomable thing to experience. My thoughts are also with the healthcare providers who are working overtime to treat everyone who was wounded.
I just don't have any words anymore. I will repeat what I said after the attack in Brussels: I am just so angry and so sad that any human being thinks this is an okay thing to do, no less that it is a heroic thing to do.