When I returned home this evening, I saw the gruesome pictures showing yet more innocent people killed while preparing to worship in Lahore, Pakistan. The Data Ganj Baksh is one of the most prominent mosques in Pakistan’s second largest city. As a human rights activist, these attacks on innocent civilians provoke the most outrage. Given that it comes just days after the last despicable terrorist attack in Lahore, I’m left asking, when will the horror end? Raza Rumi, a prominent writer on Sufism says it better than I can:
This is a barbaric attack and should serve as a wake up call. Data Saheb’s shrine is not just another crowded place – it represents a millenia of tolerant Sufi Islam which is directly under attack by the puritans.Last year, there were threats and the government had closed the place for a day or two. This time the worst of nightmares has come true.
And when I hear, as was the case in this terrorist attack “the bombers used devices packed with ball-bearings to maximise the impact of their attack” you cannot help but be angry about this attack and to grieve for the families whose lives were snuffed out for no reason. Let’s not spend justify it by blaming “outside forces”, let’s find the perpetrators. We must stand shoulder to shoulder with the victims and their families in seeking justice for this heinous act.
Update: Juan Cole, a blogger on the Middle East and South Asia has a good analysis of this bombing.
Suicide bombings are human rights violations.
Normally I don’t cover Pakistan (I cover India, Bangladesh and the Maldives for Amnesty USA). But, I just want to do a quick post here to condemn unequivocally the wanton killing of innocent civilians in Lahore, Pakistan today. Suicide bombings that kill or injure civilians are human rights violations and must be condemned.
Lahore is the cultural capital of Pakistan and it has been subjected to repeated suicide bombings by folks who apparently think that killing innocent civilians can be a justified response to the war that they are fighting in Waziristan against Pakistani and US soldiers. It’s not. Here is a description of the scene from the BBC World Service:
“I sensed real danger and started running. There were scenes of destruction in nearby restaurants and shops.
“There were broken chairs and tables and other items lying everywhere on the ground.”
Another eyewitness, Afzal Awan, said he had seen wounded people with limbs missing lying in pools of blood.
“I saw smoke rising everywhere,” he told reporters. “A lot of people were crying.”
Exactly what do these people have to do with the operations going on in the northwestern part of the country? Nothing. They are innocent civilians, women, children and men going about their lives. The world must condemn these mass murders unequivocally. Nothing can justify it.