ICC Marks First Anniversary of Easter Bombing in Pakistan

Source:                                                www.persecution.org

Date:                                                     March 27, 2017

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
 
ICC Marks First Anniversary of Easter Bombing in Pakistan
 
Continued Assistance Necessary to Help Rebuild Lives Broken by Last Year's Attack
03/27/2017 Washington, D.C. (International Christian Concern) - March 27, 2017 marks the first anniversary of the Easter bombing in the Gulshan e-Iqbal Park where a suicide bomber targeted hundreds of Christians who were celebrating Easter. A militant belonging to a branch of the Pakistani Taliban detonated a suicide vest, killing more than 70 people and wounding more than 300. Of those killed, approximately 21 were Christians while 45 Christians were seriously injured. After the attack, a spokesperson for the Pakistani Taliban claimed that they were targeting Christians in the attack.
 
Around 6:30 p.m., the militant walked into the park and headed toward the children's swings, one of the busiest areas of the park. Survivors remember the blast and looking in horror at shoes, swings, bodies, and articles of clothing flying through the air. After the explosion, there was chaos as family members rushed into the rubble, looking for loved ones, while others called for assistance. Those who did not have family members in the area, scattered, panicking about another attack. Because the attack caused so many injuries, the roads quickly became jammed as taxis, auto-rickshaws, and ambulances all headed for the hospital.
 
Today, many families still struggle after the attack as many breadwinners and heads-of-household died in the explosion. Tariq, for example, was injured and lost his brother who was the primary income provider for the family. Tariq recalls, "The Easter day bombing left me alone. My brother always supported me in difficult times; however, after his death I was extremely depressed."
 
Sumbal, Tariq's sister, confessed, "I will never forget my brother. He was a great source of inspiration for us. I miss him a lot - may his soul rest in peace." Tariq's cousin admitted, "The Easter day bombing damaged us a lot."
 
Hassam lost two daughters during the attack and one of his daughters operated a beauty parlor to provide for the family. "I lost two daughters on Easter day which affected my health and mental status, but I faced financial crises as well. The bombing left me alone in life. I did not feel relaxed or comfortable and experienced mental stress." Another family member noted, "We never thought this [attack] would happen to us. The incident was unbearable and high scale persecution against us."
 
Zahid's son died last year, leaving Zahid and his family in a difficult financial situation. Zahid confessed, "The death of my beloved son was almost end of the world for me. I never thought of it. The incident did a lot of financial damage to us." Zahid's other son reminisced how he "was very close to my brother - may his soul rest in peace. I miss him a lot and feel lonely without him. I lost my interest in any work, assignment or job."
 
Since the attack, International Christian Concern (ICC) has actively sought ways to provide both immediate relief and long-term development for these families whose lives have been shattered by persecution. Food and medical assistance coupled with microfinance businesses have provided tangible and practical relief, but nothing can bring back loved ones who died. As evidenced by the survivors' statements, such pain remains.
 
William Stark, ICC's Regional Manager, said, "We remember the victims of the Easter bombing with great sadness. Pakistan continues to be a deadly country for Christians to live and practice their faith. Christians not only face deadly attacks like the 2016 Easter bombing or the 2013 All Saints Church bombing, but they must also endure social discrimination and blasphemy laws. Continued assistance that provides long-term development is vital to effectively assist persecuted Christians."
For interviews with William Stark, Regional Manager, please contact Olivia Miller, Communications Coordinator: press@persecution.org

 

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