07/25/2017, 09.53
PAKISTAN
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Lahore, Christian neighborhood sealed off following Taliban bomb attack

by Kamran Chaudhry

Yesterday's attack was claimed by Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan. Access to the Bahar Colony within the area of the explosion, blocked. Nearly 50,000 Christians live in the neighborhood and there are nearly 200 churches. Bishops' study emergency aid for victims. At least 160 attacks occurred in Pakistan in 2013.

 

Lahore (AsiaNews) - Transportation around the Christian quarter of Lahore has been blocked after the devastating explosion that hit the city yesterday, during which 26 people died, including nine policemen. Pastor John Feroze of Christ King Gospel Ministries reports to AsiaNews: "Police have fenced off several kilometers from the point of the explosion. Among the delimited areas, is also the main entrance of the Bahar Colony, where 50,000 Christians live. We are using alternative routes to get to our homes."

Rev. Feroze continues, "in our country, people have forgotten humanity. Terrorists do not respect Islam. Peace can not prevail until the government acts severely against madrasas (Islamic seminaries), radical imams and illegal terrorist groups."

This morning in all the churches throughout the country prayers were said for the victims of yesterday's attack in the fruit and vegetable market area [near the Arfa Karim tower in Ferozepur Road - ed]. The market is located near the entrance to the Christian Quarter of Bahar, where there are about 200 churches. The Taliban of Pakistan [Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (Ttp) - ed] claimed the suicide attack. Haider Ashraf, deputy general inspector of police operations, said the 18-year-old was riding a motorcycle and wearing a jacket padded with 12 kilos of explosives.

At the time of the detonation, Catholic bishops had gathered from across the country in Youhanabad, south of Lahore, for a meeting of the leadership of Caritas Pakistan. Roger Randhawa, who manages the Church's social arm operations at Lahore, reports: "Our city is a frequent target because it is literally called 'Heart of Pakistan'. Following the bishops' meeting, an immediate plan for victims will be formulated. We condemn this brutal act."

According to the Ministry of Information and Telecommunication, about 160 terrorist attacks have occurred since 2013 - when the Nawaz Sharif government of the Pakistan Muslim League was established. Meanwhile security forces in the metropolis were placed under the highest alert after the explosion, the third of this year. More police officers are reviewing security measures by visiting churches and sensitive buildings in their respective areas.

Also in Lahore, in April, six people were killed in a suicide bomb attack on government officials who were collecting data for the census. In February another bomb attack carried out by a Taliban faction in front of the Punjab Assembly headquarters resulted in 14 casualties and more than 80 wounded.

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