Vic­tims call for pub­lic hang­ing of Lahore at­tack mas­ter­minds

Hun­dreds at­tend fu­neral of blast vic­tims Pun­jab CM vis­its sur­vivors in hospi­tal

Muscat Daily - - WORLD -

Lahore, Pak­istan - Anger was grow­ing in Pak­istan on Tues­day as the grief-stricken rel­a­tives of 26 peo­ple killed by a sui­cide bomber in Lahore a day ear­lier buried their loved ones and de­manded the gov­ern­ment pub­licly hang the mas­ter­minds of the at­tack.

Fam­i­lies and res­i­dents in the bustling east­ern city de­manded ac­tion as they at­tended fu­neral prayers, and as the Chief Min­is­ter of Pun­jab prov­ince Shah­baz Sharif - brother of Prime Min­is­ter Nawaz Sharif - vis­ited sur­vivors in hospi­tal.

“We de­mand from the Gov­ern­ment of Pak­istan that those who are in­volved in this in­ci­dent and those who are the fa­cil­i­ta­tors should be hanged in pub­lic,” Hafiz Naseerud­din, un­cle of a po­lice­man killed in the blast, said.

“We came here in great grief,” added Shaikh Rizwan, a lo­cal res­i­dent who at­tended the fu­neral prayers for some of the vic­tims.

“Twenty six peo­ple were mar­tyred here yes­ter­day (Mon­day), I re­quest my gov­ern­ment that please up­root these ter­ror­ists fully so our coun­try can progress,” he said.

The pow­er­ful blast on Mon­day hit a busy veg­etable mar­ket on a bustling main road in the south­ern part of Lahore, blow­ing out the win­dows in nearby build­ings. Many of those killed in the at­tack were po­lice who were clear­ing shop­ping stalls that had il­le­gally encroached on to the road.

On Tues­day, dis­traught rela- tives car­ried the coffins of two po­lice­men, broth­ers who were killed in the at­tack, to a petrol pump which had been turned into a makeshift prayer ground.

Flo­ral wreaths from lo­cal po­lice chiefs were placed on the wooden coffins as fam­ily mem­bers wept. Po­lice have said their ini­tial in­ves­ti­ga­tions show the at­tack, claimed by the Pak­istani Tal­iban, was car­ried out by a sui­cide bomber.

Foren­sic ex­perts were col­lect­ing ev­i­dence from the site of the blast on Tues­day.

Lahore has been hit by sig­nif­i­cant mil­i­tant at­tacks in Pak­istan’s more than decade-long war on ex­trem­ism, but they have been less fre­quent in re­cent years. The last ma­jor blast in the city was in March last year, when 75 were killed and hun­dreds in­jured in a bomb tar­get­ing Chris­tians cel­e­brat­ing Easter Sun­day in a park.

But the coun­try was also hit by a wave of at­tacks in Fe­bru­ary this year, in­clud­ing a bomb that killed 14 peo­ple in Lahore.

In April a fur­ther seven were killed in an at­tack in the city tar­get­ing a team that was car­ry­ing out the coun­try’s long over­due cen­sus.

Af­ter years of spi­ralling in­se­cu­rity, the pow­er­ful army launched a crack­down on mil­i­tancy in the wake of a bru­tal at­tack on a school in late 2014.

More than 150 peo­ple, most of them chil­dren, died in the Tal­iban-led as­sault in the north­west­ern city of Pe­shawar - the coun­try’s dead­li­est ever sin­gle at­tack.

It shook a coun­try al­ready grimly ac­cus­tomed to atroc­i­ties and prompted the mil­i­tary to step up op­er­a­tions in the tribal ar­eas, where mil­i­tants had pre­vi­ously op­er­ated with im­punity.

The coun­try has seen a dra­matic im­prove­ment in se­cu­rity since, though groups such as the Pak­istani Tal­iban re­tain the abil­ity to carry out spec­tac­u­lar at­tacks.


Pak­istani mourn­ers carry the coffins of blast vic­tims dur­ing their fu­neral a day af­ter a sui­cide bomb at­tack killed 26, in Lahore on Tues­day

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