Fourteen people were killed and more than 70 injured when two Taliban suicide bombers attacked churches in Pakistan on Sunday, sparking mob violence in which two other suspected militants died.
Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) splinter group Jamatul Ahrar claimed responsibility for the twin blasts near Saint John Catholic Church and Christ Church in Youhanabad area, the country’s biggest Christian locality, housing at least one million people.
According to the reports, the blasts went off minutes apart in a majority Christian suburb of the eastern city. Police said it seemed they targeted two churches, one Catholic and one Protestant that are very close to each other.
Police have cordoned-off the entire area and the injured were shifted to Lahore General Hospital. The condition of several wounded is reported as critical. A large number of people have gathered at the hospital.
The enraged crowd has beaten up an unknown person at the site of the blasts. Eye witnesses claim the individual was involved in the attack.
According to sources, some unknown miscreants opened fire near one Church after which the blast occurred whereas a suicide bomber explode himself outside the second Church on being stopped at the gate.
Meanwhile, protesters have launched a demonstration outside General Hospital against the Punjab government. Sloganeering continues against the Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. The enraged protesters demand accountability, and said proper security was not provided to the churches, a Dawn report said.
Members of the Christian community also took to the streets and staged protests in Karachi’s Esa Nagri area against the bomb attacks on churches in Lahore, as per media reports.
Lahore is the capital of Punjab, Pakistan’s wealthiest and most populous province and the political heartland of PM Nawaz Sharif.
The city is generally considered peaceful compared with many other areas of Pakistan, but violence there has been increasing after the government’s failed attempts to hold peace talks with the Taliban last year.