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Image of Suneel a Christian injured in the Lahore Bomb attack at Punjab Assembly 10 days earlier.
Bombers have attacked a public space in Lahore in a terror attack that has shook the nation. Only 10 days after an attack outside the Punjab Assembly that killed 6 senior police officers (click here). There is also a report of a bomb attack Jacobabad in the Sindh, but this is still to be confirmed by BPCA officers.
The bomb attack took place in Z-block at Defence Housing Authority (DHA), and security forces and rescue arrived promptly and cordoned of the area for investigation and protection. Many shop windows wer smashed by the explosion adding to the number of injured people.
Z-Block is considered a very elite area within Lahore and is a popular destination for tourists, who may have been targeted in the attack.Many Christians also work in the area undertaking blue collar jobs and it is not yet known if any victims are are Christian. Our officer Amber Saroya is already visiting local hospitals to provide prayer, counselling and support to all the victims irrespective of their faith.
Eight people have already been confirmed dead in this latest attack and a further 13 have been reported as injured. Sadly it is expected that further victims will lose their lives due to the seriousness of some of the injuries. This is not a final count.
Patient and corpses are being taken to three local hospitals namely, General Hospital, Jinnah Hospital, and National Defence hospital who have been placed on high alert.
Splinter Taliban group Jamaat-ul-Ahrar warned that a spate of terrorist attacks were imminent, even going as a far as warning minority groups to not support the government at the cost of becoming a target (click here).
In recent bomb attacks Tehreek-e-Taliban-Pakistan under the guise of Jamaat-ul-Ahrar have illustrated a resolve of repeatedly targeting the police and other security personnel. Ostensibly they have moved away form targeting minorities which has more public support in an increasingly extremist nation.
The incident also raises possibilities of renewed targeting of public congregations in which Lahore may become a favoured focal point for future terrorist attacks. This is extremely worrying as Lahore is regarded as a strong base of support for current Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and political party Pakistan Muslim League (N).
Mehwish Bhatti, our BPCA officer based in Lahore, said:
"This news is demoralizing and creates great fear and anxiety amongst all Christians in Pakistan.
We have been targeted in four bomb attacks in four years and this latest attack coupled with reports of the previous attack in Lahore, creates grave concerns that we are due a further attack soon."
Wilson Chowdhry, Chairman of the BPCA, said:
"Lahore is increasingly becoming a target for terrorists just as Karachi has always been. Yet this is the seed bed of support for PML(N)
"The increased intensity and frequency of terrorists attacks in Pakistan may be due to Pakistanis fighting in Syria returning to the homeland as they see their activities in Syria are being thwarted.
"Even if this is not the case it will not be long till those returning do join the ranks of Jamaat-ul-Ahrar who are able to reignite their misguided cause.
"These attacks derail claims by the Government that they are winning their fight against terror via operation Zarb-e-Azb (sharp and cutting strike). (click here)
"If anything it evidences that the current approach is ineffective and perhaps now Pakistan should admit failure and call for boots on the ground military support from America and Britain.
"Concerns about sovereignty are ill-considered when lives are at stake."