Over 70 people have been killed and hundreds injured after a terrorist attack in a popular park in Lahore, Pakistan. Hospital officials and media report that the death toll continues to rise, while many of those injured are in critical conditions.
Police stated the attack was a suicide bomb. The blast occurred on March 27, 2016, Sunday evening when many families, including many Christian families celebrating Easter, were visiting Gulshan-e-Iqbal Park in Lahore. It is believed that the suicide attacker entered the park around the time when families were leaving and detonated the bomb in an area near the rides with a large number of women and children.
Eyewitnesses stated the scene was absolutely chaotic. Many of those who rushed into the park immediately after the blast to help the victims fainted upon seeing the horrifying sight. Hundreds of victims were taken to nearby hospitals, where blood donations are still urgently needed.
News channels showed footage of crying women and children amid the chaos as injured victims were being taken to ambulances. A couple of lost children who were unable to identify themselves or their family members were also handed over to authorities. Distressed citizens with relatives or friends present in the park at the time of the attack continue their search for their loved ones.
Chief minister of the province of Punjab Shahbaz Sharif has declared three days of official mourning. The atrocious attack in the city, also known as “the heart of Pakistan,” has left the whole nation in shock and grief.
The attack that specifically targeted innocent children comes only three months after the first year anniversary of the Peshawar school attacks that left about 150 children dead. Pakistan’s fight against terrorism continues as people all over the country live in fear, unsure if they’re bound to return home once they leave.
Terrorists who claim to kill in the name of religion consistently target vulnerable populations in Muslim-majority countries, spreading fear and despair among innocents. While Islam’s guidelines for full combat — which, unlike suicide attacks, would involve two equally equipped parties — prohibits the killing of women, children, the elderly, the destruction of trees and so forth, these terrorists specifically target areas with children, women and nature, such as the park in Lahore.
Their actions make it clear that religion is not a motivational or guiding force behind the killings of innocents.