By Arooj Khalid
LAHORE, Pakistan – Toddlers and children playing around the swings, people celebrating the joyous arrival of spring. It was Easter, a holiday widely celebrated in my city.A suicide bomber attacked a local park in Lahore around 7 p.m. on Easter Sunday. More than 60 people lost their lives, more than 300 families are praying for the recovery of their injured relatives.
News channels are flashing footage of the rescuers. Ambulances are speeding by, loved ones are running here and there.
There’s an influx of social media posts, some condemning the attack and some blaming it on opposing organizations. Other posts show pictures of children who got separated from their parents in the rampage after the blast, and some are trying to identify the suicide bomber. Some even go as far as to say that the blast was nothing more than a distraction for the public from the recently captured agent of RAW, the Indian intelligence agency.
A faction of the Taliban recently claimed responsibility for the suicide bombing in the park and openly stated the targets were the Christian minority of Pakistan – and that similar attacks would continue.
The Taliban are one of the well-known extremist groups who claim to fight for Islam but clearly go against it in every one of their actions. To quote the Quran, Chapter 2 (verse 11-12), “And when it is said to them, Make not mischief in the land, they say: We are but peacemakers. Now surely they are the mischief-makers, but they perceive not.”
Most terrorist attacks that happen around the world are blamed on religion but it makes me wonder if religion even plays a part here or if it’s just being used as an excuse.
It is said that you need morality to know what is right and wrong, not religion. And even then, most religions of the world promote peace and coexistence.
Then, when these vicious extremists act upon other lethal and barbaric values, it makes all our attempts at coexistence feel trivial.
As a Muslim, born and raised in a Muslim family, in a city dominated by a Muslim population, I have a ton of Christian friends. I’ve been to church and not only am I taking a course in Christian ethics, but I also go to a Christian university.
If that doesn’t depict the unity between Muslim and Christian masses in Lahore, I don’t know what does.
If out of nowhere, these extremists come and drop bombs on our Christian brothers and sisters, we won’t sit calmly with our hands on our laps. Our ancestors created Pakistan to liberate us and leave behind the savageness.
Now the responsibility falls on the Punjab government. Can it protect its citizens from a cruel stream of terrorism that may be in store for the future of Lahore and assert its potency despite the opposition?
Punjab’s leaders must show by their actions that they are capable of safeguarding the minority populations as well as any other.
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