By ICC’s Pakistan Correspondent
03/27/2018 Washington, D.C. (International Christian Concern) – Christians in Pakistan still mourn the Gulshan Iqbal park bombing after two years. Thousands of Christians in Lahore were celebrating Easter Sunday in a public park on the evening of March 27, 2016, when suddenly their joy turned into horror, panic, and chaos. According to media reports, at least 72 people were killed and over 300 more were injured.
Sara Tariq Gill, a 20-year-old Christian, was in the park with 10 members of her family during the bombing
“I was eating some snacks while resting on a chair when I heard a bang and froze…I don’t remember what happened after that. Those days are missing from my memory. I was told that I remained unconscious for having a head injury. After a week, when I was able to understand the situation, I saw a bullet came out of my right leg which was not taken out by the doctors, I still have pieces of metal,” Sara recalled.
“One of my aunts also died and the other got severe injuries. This was not it because the body of my mother was also perforated with shrapnel. She remained in the hospital for over three weeks. It does not fade out of my memory. Though I am restored physically, fear in my soul constantly prevails. My mother screams sometimes during her sleep. I always thank God that He saved me in this incident that left dozens of people dead. Every Sunday, I come early and thank God for the new life He bestowed me,” Sara told International Christian Concern (ICC).
Mr. Alyas Bhatti, a political activist, told ICC, “We cannot forget burying 11 people who died in Gulshan Iqbal Park. It was the second consecutive Easter holiday that Christians in Pakistan mourned their beloved ones. After the suicide bomb attack at two churches in Lahore in 2015, our volunteers helped police to secure the settlement on Christmas and Easter eves…As it was not possible to attack a worship place anymore, the terrorists chose a public place to attack Christians on Easter day. We are now very vigilant at coming Easter events and taking care of every minor arrangement in the church compounds and the residential settlements.”
Mr. Qaiser Ifraheem Saroya, former member of the provincial assembly in Punjab, said, “Government makes lofty claims after every incident and then ignores the situation, waiting for the other attacks to happen. Little to nothing has been done to counter the hatred for religious minorities in the society, carved through national curricula and hate speech. We still lack a political will to counter these nightmares.
Rev. Sohrab Younas William, Vice Chairman of the Church of Pakistan Multan Diocese, added, “It is God who provides us protection, we trust in God. The physical steps taken by the government cannot result into peace and protection of religious minorities unless a sincere effort to counter the conceptual base of this attitude is designed and implemented.”
Please continue to pray for Christians in Pakistan, especially during this time of the year. Easter is a time of celebration for Christians, but many are targeted and persecuted instead. Remember to pray for their protection and spiritual growth, while they continue to face many challenges for their beliefs.
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