Going to a park is often a fun adventure for children and an outlet for parents seeking to get their children out of the house. One such park was named to recognize a noted National Poet and the “Spiritual Father of Pakistan,” Dr. Mohamed Iqbal. The Gulshan-e-Iqbal (Garden of Iqbal) Park is a 67 acre park in the urban sprawl of Lahore, Pakistan. On Easter Sunday some families gathered in the park to celebrate Easter, others gathered with family just to enjoy a fun day at the park. With a lake, play areas, park rides at “Fun Land” and even a petting zoo, the park should have been a safe haven for families enjoying the green space and fun activities. Yet Easter Sunday would become Sunday, bloody Sunday again.
Jamat-ul-Ahrar (JA), which can be described as an associated group with the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) sent a suicide bomber, Salahuddin Khorasani to target and kill Christians celebrating Easter. Salahuddin Khorasani “carried out the attack on the eve of Christian festival Easter on March 27, 2016 as per his will. He has gifted his life to Allah.” The suicide bomber detonated his vest near the exit from the park near the children’s swings killing 72 and injuring over 300 individuals.
This is not the first attack against Christian targets by the Jamat-ul-Ahrar. On September 23, 2013, they conducted a suicide bombing at the All Saints Church in Peshawar. In March 2015, Jamat-ul-Ahrar sent two suicide bombers who detonated at St. John’s Catholic Church and at Christ Church in Lahore.
Today in the Garden of Iqbal Park there is a sign placed near where the suicide bomber detonated his device saying “Terrorism has no religion.” The Pakistan Government needs to do more to protect Christians in Pakistan. It comes as no surprise that terrorist groups in Pakistan have been targeting Christians. Just like the lyrics of U2’s song Sunday, Bloody Sunday once again we have families in Lahore feeling despair in their hearts with the deaths and injuries of loved ones because terrorists targeted Christians in Pakistan. Unfortunately Bono’s lyrics ring true once again.
. . . There’s many lost, but tell me who has won
The trench is dug within our hearts
And mothers, children, brothers, sisters torn apart
Sunday, Bloody Sunday.
But while the song is written about “The Troubles” even Ireland had a Good Friday Agreement that ended the troubles and brought peace to the conflict.