The Guardian reports that a Taliban spokesman confirmed that Christians were deliberately targeted during the Easter atrocity in Lahore.
A spokesman for the Taliban splinter group Jamaat-ul-Ahrar said Christians were deliberately targeted.
A large number of Christians – who are among the country’s most economically disadvantaged communities – had been attracted to the cheap and affordable public attraction as an Easter treat for their children. Christians make up about 2% of Pakistan’s 192 million population.
But there were also plenty of Muslims among the hundreds wounded.
The article describes excited children waking early for Easter services at church and rounding out the day with a trip to the amusement park. At least 72 people died and 280 were injured as a suicide bomber deployed by the Taliban attacked the festivities.
The Archbishop of Canterbury tweeted shortly after the news broke, praying “to the crucified God who brings hope in despair, whose love is with the victims, who promises justice”:
The Pope issued a statement via a spokesman, saying the the attacks cast “a shadow of sadness and anguish” over Easter, and calling them “cowardly murderous hatred rages on the most defenceless.”
ENS pointed to a video message on Facebook from Bishop Samuel Azariah, moderator of the Church of Pakistan (United), who had just returned from visiting the wounded in area hospitals very soon after the attack. His voice cracking, he asked for prayer and offered a blessing.
Bishop Samuel Azariah, moderator of the Church of Pakistan (United), posted a video message on his Facebook page shortly after the bombing. He said some of the victims were members of his Diocese of Raiwind. “Please keep us in your prayers and may this time of Easter, the celebration of Christ’s victory over death and grave, be a meaningful and a consoling experience for many of our people who are in the hospital at the moment,” he said.
As the three days of national mourning continue in Pakistan, weary grief is turning to anger at the lack of security for the nation’s minority Christians, the Guardian reports.
“We have had to learn to live with fear,” Gul said. “Every time there is a religious festival we Christians feel a looming sense of threat. We cannot be happy on our holy occasions.”
But one Christian pastor, who led six funerals for children and young people on Monday said, “I’m not angry,”…. “I’m just full of despair.”
Featured image: from the Facebook video by Bishop Samuel Azariah, Church of Pakistan (United)