Third Pakistan Terrorist Attack This Month Leaves at least 70 Killed

Third Pakistan Terrorist Attack This Month Leaves at least 70 Killed
Photo Credit:AP/ 達志影像

What you need to know

A suicide bomb was detonated in a public park in Pakistan on the evening of March 27, killing at least 70 people and leaving more than 300 injured. A breakaway Pakistani faction of the militant Taliban claimed the responsibility for the attack, which is said to have targeted the Christian community. Since it was Easter, many Christian families were in the park celebrating the holiday. Many children and women were among the victims.

Translated and compiled by Bing-sheng Lee

A huge blast set off by a suicide bomber shook a public park in the eastern city of Lahore, Pakistan on the evening of March 27 (local time). So far, at least 70 people have been confirmed dead and more than 300 people were wounded.

Haider Ashraf, a senior police officer in the city, says that the bombing took place in a parking lot at Gulshan-e-Iqbal Park, one of the largest parks in Lahore. The bomb was detonated just several meters away from a swing set.

Because it was Easter, many Christian families were out in the park to celebrate the holiday. Many children and women were among the victims.

Jamaat-e-Ahrar, a breakaway Pakistani faction of the militant Taliban, claimed that they are responsible for the explosion. Ehsan, the group’s spokesperson, says in a statement that Christians were the target.

Ehsan also says, “The attack was also to give a message to government that it cannot deter us even in their stronghold, Lahore.” Lahore is not only the capital of Punjab Province, but also the hometown of Pakistan’s prime minister, Nawaz Sharif.

Zaeem Qadri, a spokesperson for the provincial government, says Shahbaz Sharif, Punjab’s chief minister, has announced three days of mourning and pledged to bring the criminals to justice. On March 28, Pakistani authorities launched a hunt for the militants behind the terrorist act.

After the explosion, police and private security guards have been controlling the park. Ashraf says, “We are in a warlike situation and there is always a general threat, but no specific threat alert was received for this place.”

Schools and businesses in the city will remain closed on March 28.

Terrorist attacks have plagued Pakistan for years

In this month alone, three terrorist attacks have struck Pakistan and have severely damaged the South Asian country. Jamaat-e-Ahrar also claims to have carried out a suicide attack early this month in Peshawar, the capital of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, leaving 16 killed. Another bomb exploding on a bus carrying government officials in Peshawar claimed 14 lives.

The severity of the suicide bombing at the park has been the gravest since the massacre of 134 children in a military-run school in Peshawar that took place two years ago. Because of the massive killing in 2014, the Pakistan government initiated a major crackdown on terrorists and have killed and arrested hundreds of suspected militants.

However, the attacks that happened over the past few weeks indicate that even though the Pakistani military has been working to stifle the extremists over the past two years, Islamist militant groups are still a dangerous threat.

Since Pakistan joined a US-led campaign against Islamist militant groups after the 911 terrorist attack, the country has been haunted by militant violence for the last 15 years.

Edited by Olivia Yang

“Explosion at Park in Lahore, Pakistan, Kills Dozens” (The New York Times)
“Pakistani Taliban faction claims Easter park bombing” (The Seattle Times)
“Pakistanis hunt for militants behind blast that killed at least 65” (Yahoo News)
“71 dead, over 300 injured in explosion at Lahore’s Gulshan Iqbal Park” (Dunya News)