World condemns Lahore bombing
UAE calls for efforts to eradicate terrorism after children among dozens killed in park attack
The terror attack on the Pakistani city of Lahore that left at least 70 people dead should be a signal for the international community to wipe out terrorism, the UAE has said.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation yesterday issued a statement condemning Sunday’s bomb attack on a park in Lahore where hundreds of Pakistanis, mainly Christians, had gathered to celebrate Easter.
Claimed by the Taliban offshoot Jamaat-ul-Ahrar, the bombing killed at least 70 people, including Muslims and Christians, and injured more than 300.
The UAE foreign ministry said it would support any measure Pakistan might deem necessary to protect its security and stability. The statement expressed the “UAE’s solidarity with Pakistan out of its firm position of rejecting all forms of terrorism regardless of motivation and justification, wherever, whenever and by whomever.”
It added there is a need for “concerted efforts by the international community to work at eradicating all forms of terrorism” and expressed condolences to the Pakistani government and people.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said the targeting of a park filled with children “revealed the face of terror, which knows no limits and values.”
France meanwhile, expressed its “solidarity in these difficult moments” to the authorities and the people of Pakistan and underlined “the inflexible will of our country to continue to battle terrorism everywhere.”
Pope Francis, addressing the Catholic faithful celebrating Easter in St Peter’s Square, also hit out at the attack, as Pakistan began a threeday mourning period to remember the victims.
The pope said it was a “vile and abominable” act, calling on authorities in Pakistan to “make every effort to restore security and serenity” to Pakistanis, particularly religious minorities in the largely Muslim nation.
Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif (pictured right), meanwhile, cancelled a planned trip to Great Britain yesterday and held a highlevel security meeting.
He called the perpetrators of the attack “cowards” and vowed to defeat the “extremist mindset”.
The Lahore bombing, claimed by a breakaway Taliban faction that has publicly supported the ISIS group, underscored both the precarious position of Pakistan's minorities and the fact that the militants are still capable of staging wide-scale assaults.
Ahsanullah Ahsan, a spokesman for the faction, Jamaat-ul-Ahrar, said that the suicide bomber deliberately targeted the Christian community celebrating Easter.
However, most of those killed were Muslims. Of the dead, 14 have been identified as Christians, according to Police Superintendent Mohammed Iqbal. Another 12 bodies have not yet been identified, he said.
Meanwhile, in the capital of Islamabad, extremists protested for a second day outside Parliament and other key buildings. The demonstrators set cars on fire, demanding that authorities impose Sharia law.
BEREAVED: A boy who survived the attack at the funeral of his cousin, who was killed. Inset: an injured man talks on his phone from hospital