8 dead and 39 injured including two Christians killed in latest Lahore blast
Amber Saroya our full-time BPCA officer for Lahore visited the survivors of the recent blast that ripped through Alferno Cafe. (click here)
The explosion occurred at 11:17am (6am GMT) on 23rd February in the basement of the newly built cafe, which was to be officially inaugurated two days later.
Eight people two of whom were Christians were killed immediately. There were also 39 casualties 4 of them Christian.
Initially the Government of Pakistan declared the blast was caused by a bomb attack later they issued a statement explaining that the explosion was caused
by a gas cylinder explosion. Many commentators have posited that a cover up is taking place. They believe the Government is unwilling to admit they have
lost control of the city of Lahore. Lahore is known as a centre for support for Nawaz Sharif's Pakistan Muslim League - N party. A second bomb attack in
10 days following the bomb attack outside the Punjab Assembly (click here)which killed 13 people, would be an insidious sign for PML-N and would undermine their status as the ruling party.
Ambar's primary role was to counsel and pray for victims irrespective of their faith and then to offer any assistance possible. Although a few Muslims
allowed Ambar to pray with them.
Ambar visited four Hospitals on the day of the attack: Adil Hospital, National Hospital, Jinnah Hospital and General Hospital. Adil and National Hospital
refused to provide details of victims due to security reasons. Only immediate family members were able to circumvent the tight security protocol.
By the time our officer reached Jinnah hospital Ambar found two Muslim patients one of whom was discharged after treatment of minor injuries and the other
was hospitalized for a few days. Ambar prayed for the admitted patient but left quickly as he was unconscious and no family members were around at that
time. She did not take pictures.
At General hospital Ambar received a list of 25 patients among the victims she found four Christians. Mr Sunny Khokhar (35 yrs), who was an assistant manager
at Alferno restaurant is married and has five children. His wife Rubina (36 yrs) and children Hina (24 yrs), Kanwal (23 yrs), Akash (21yrs), Rabbia (20
yrs) Sobia (12yrs) were comforting him when Ambar arrived. The blast occurred within the basement of Sunny's place of work. A month earlier he had been
appointed as assistant manager for the restaurant which had been newly constructed. On the opening day of the restaurant Sunny had been filled with excitement
this job was permanent and paid well, he was looking forward to a bright future. Then the bomb erupted. Sadly Sunny Khokhar was hit by shrapnel within
the incendiary devices that has caused serious damage to his left hand. He has been advised to take one month of work due to shattered bones. Sunny has
also been informed that his employers death means he has no job to return too. Sunny is seeking help towards his lost salary of £196 for a month.
Sunny Dawood (26yrs) worked in the same restaurant as Sunny Khokhar he was was employed as a cleaner at the restaurant. Sunny is married with 2 sons; Simon
(3yrs) and Shamoun (1 yr), his wife is Reeta (24yrs) all were with him at the hospital. On hearing the blast he jumped out of a window on the 2nd floor,
fearing the building might collapse. He injured both his legs and his left arm but will recover. He has been told he must rest for two weeks and has also
been advised that he will not have a job to return to due to the death of the owner. Sunny Dawood would like help with the loss of one months wages at
Zeeshan Emanuel (16 yrs) was employed as a cleaner at United Bank. He was struck in the head by two ball bearings that had been emitted from the bomb.
He was operated on immediately but will require 3 weeks rest to recover. Zeeshan has 5 siblings three of whom are married Shahzad (26 years), Maria (24
years) Alia, (age 20 years). Two of his siblings are not married Shehrish (17 yrs), Zeshan (16yrs). Zeeshan's father passed away 10 year's ago and because
the eldest three children have married and support their own homes, he has become the main breadwinner for his family. Ambar believes this family is most
in need. Zeeshan would like help with one months wages of £86.
Aqib Ashiq (16 yrs) was hit just below the right eye by a ball bearing emitted from the bomb. Aqib was employed as a cleaner at Alferno cafe and is now jobless after the death of his employer. His father and mother are both cleaners on very limited wages. After his older brother Saqib (19yrs) was selected for a medical course at 'Centre of Financial Excellence, Aqib's parents asked Aqib to start work that together they might pay for additional cost for Saqib over and above his bursary. Aqib also has two younger siblings Asma (14 yrs) and Zakeria (11 yrs) who attend school. Aqib had the worst injuries and has been told to rest for a month. He may lose some of the sight from his right eye. Aqib would like help with £86 for one months wages.
Two Christian men were killed in the bomb attack.
Mr Richard (30yrs) was the appointed Manager of Alferno Cafe and was killed instantly after the explosion tore into his body. He was a student on his second year of a theology course at the Gull Gospel Assemblies bible college. His father Munir Samuel is the Pastor for the FGA church. Mr Richard leaves behind a wife and two children and the BPCA would like to raise £200 to present to the family to cover the costs of his funeral and towards the help of those he has left behind.
Another Christian man named Mr Imran was also killed instantly he was General Secretary of the FGA Church. We have no further details for him yet but would like to raise £200 in support of his family who will also have lost an earner.