According to Christianity Today, the attack took place while people were gathered to celebrate Easter at a children’s park in Lahore.
The attack was carried out by the Jamaat-ul-Ahrar terrorist group which is linked to the Pakistani Taliban.The terrorist group said it deliberately “targeted the Christian festival of Easter.”
The Christian Post reports that most of the victims of the attack were children and Christians. Morning Star News gives a more precise breakdown of the victims, reporting that at least 45 Christians and 25 Muslims were killed.
Although the death toll is still being tallied, the attack is likely the deadliest attack on Pakistan’s Christian minority since terrorists carried out a deadly attack on Peshawar’s All Saints Church in 2013, killing up to 150.
Violence, especially against Christians and other minorities, has been increasing in Pakistan.
"Today's suicide bombing in Pakistan, which was specifically targeted at Christians celebrating the Easter holiday, is one of the countless examples of the escalating global persecution against Christians,” stated Open Doors USA President and CEO David Curry. “Each life lost is precious. I'm disappointed that the Western world only seems to pay close attention when attacks happen here in the West. The lives lost in Africa, the Middle East or Southeast Asia are just as valuable as those lost in Europe or the United States. We should be equally outraged by their loss.”
Other attacks have also occurred in Pakistan in recent history. Much of the persecution of Christians is due to Pakistan’s strict blasphemy laws which Muslims use to accuse Christians of blaspheming against Islam.
The high profile case of Asia Bibi is one such example. Bibi was accused by Muslims of blasphemy and sentenced to the death penalty.
One of Bibi’s strongest advocates was assassinated, and though his murderer was prosecuted and sentenced to death by the Pakistani government, 10,000 of his supporters protested his execution, thus upholding the country’s blasphemy laws.
Open Doors ranks Pakistan number six on its list of most dangerous countries for Christians.
Publication date: March 28, 2016