On Sunday, the world was going about with its Easter celebrations, unaware of the fact that a vicious terror attack was about to claim innocent lives in a park in Lahore. Close to 70 people – including women and children – were killed when a suicide bomber blew himself up in the parking lot of Gulshan-e-Iqbal Park – one of the largest public places in the city. Christians had gathered at the park to ring in the Easter celebrations. A splinter group of the Taliban – Jamaat-ul-Ahrar has claimed the attack that has rendered 300 people injured. “The target were Christians”, the faction’s spokesperson sent out a clear message.
On March 25, almost 41 people were killed in the Iraqi city of Iskanderiyah, when a teenage ISIS bomber blew himself up inside a soccer stadium. The city’s mayor, who was presenting awards to the soccer players was among those killed.
On March 28, a huge explosion was heard near the Afghan parliament building in the morning. A rocket had struck the building yard when senior security officials were on their way to brief lawmakers. The details on the casualties is yet to arrive, and so far, no terror outfit has claimed responsibility for the attack.
The successive blasts in three different countries were different in nature, but all had a common agenda – to spread fear and bring communal cataclysm. The Lahore blast was aimed at turning communities against each other. That it happened on the festive day of Easter, is even more disheartening. Bodies of little children were strewn around like pieces of rag inside the park. A seemingly innocuous annual celebration was turned into a bloodbath.
Communal cleansing, or attacking a section of the community to wipe away people of another faith or practice, tosses a functional society turtle and that is what these terrorists wanted to achieve.
But what was the culpability of all the innocent lives that had gathered to celebrate a festival? Or of those teenagers who had assembled to witness an amateur game of soccer? Why is meaningless violence increasingly becoming a part of all countries?
Terrorism has ruthlessly found footing everywhere. And it is spreading like malignant cells. It is sucking joy, peace and prosperity in the name of revenge.
We mourn with Iraq and Pakistan. We wish courage for the bereaved. These are dark times but the fight against terrorism is unanimous.