ISLAMABAD (AP) — A breakaway Pakistani faction of the militant Taliban group claims he is behind the Easter Sunday bombing that killed not less than 65 people in the park located at the eastern city of Lahore that was filled with Christians, including children.
A suicide bomber with the faction intentionally targeted populated Christian community, according to what Ahsanullah Ahsan, the spokesman for Jamaat-ul-Ahrar, told the Associated Press.
The bomb exploded near the children’s rides in Gulshan-e-Iqbal park local police chief Haider Ashraf said.
Deeba Shahnaz, a spokesman for Lahore rescue administration said that the attack killed not less than 65 people and injured 300 and above.
Due to the lives lost in the explosion, Punjab’s chief minister Shahbaz Sharif declared three days of mourning and promised to bring the perpetrators to justice, said Zaeem Qadri, a spokesman for the provincial government.
The police and private security guards closed the park, the police chief Haider Ashraf went further to explain that the situation is a warlike situation and that sometimes they do receive general threats but in this one, no specific threat alert.
Activities in the city like Schools and businesses remained closed on Monday, the city’s schools association and the Union of Lahore Traders said. Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif held a meeting to assess the security situation in Lahore, according to a government statement. Army spokesman Gen. Asim Saleem Bajwa, said the Pakistani’s army chief, Gen. Raheel Sharif, held an emergency meeting with the country’s intelligence agencies to start to track down those involved in the attacks.
The health adviser to the Punjab government Salman Rafiq, called on people to donate blood, in other to help those injured that are in a critical condition.
A witness by name Afzal, told AP that he took up to 20 children to the hospital and also carried 3 dead bodies to a police car.
The second witness, by name Tariq Mustapha, said he left the park not too long ago when the explosion took place and that his friend is till date missing.
Chaotic scenes in the park was on Footage broadcast showed on local television stations where people were running at the same time carrying children and cradling the injured in their laps.
An anonymous witness, on Pakistan’s Geo TV station, narrated how he got thrown down as well as his wife and two kids when he heard the explosion sound on their way to the fairground ride.
U.S. National Security Council spokesman said that the United States in the strongest term condemns the attack and went further to describe the incident a cowardly act. Ned Price said the U.S. will never stop to work with Pakistan and their partners to fight terrorism.