Lahore attack: Pakistan PM Sharif demands swift action on terror


Source: BBC

Pakistan’s PM has urged better co-ordination between security agencies against terror, a day after a suicide bomb killed more than 70 in Lahore.

At a meeting of security officials, Nawaz Sharif said the nation’s resolve to deal with militants was growing.

A number of arrests were made and weapons seized in five raids by security forces, the army said.

Taliban splinter group Jamaat-ul-Ahrar said it carried out the attack against Christians celebrating Easter.

At least 300 people were injured, with officials saying they expected the death toll to rise.

The area was more crowded than usual, as members of Lahore’s minority Christian community had gathered to celebrate Easter at a funfair in the park.

However, most of those who died in the attack were Muslims.

At least one funeral, of 11-year-old Christian boy Sahil Pervez, was held on Monday.

Analysis: M Ilyas Khan, BBC News, Islamabad

The bombing of the amusement park in Lahore on Easter Sunday was the bloodiest on Christians in Pakistan since the 2013 Peshawar church bombing that killed more than 80 people.

But many believe there may be a wider context to the latest attack – 27 March was the deadline set by an alliance of more than 30 religious groups for the provincial government of Punjab to withdraw a new women’s rights law they oppose.

And supporters of Mumtaz Qadri, a police guard executed last month for the 2011 killing of a provincial governor who advocated reform of the blasphemy laws, have also launched protests. They brought forward the customary 40th day mourning for Qadri by 13 days to coincide with 27 March and several thousand have now occupied a high-security zone in Islamabad to press demands which include the implementation of Sharia law.

Sunday’s carnage in Lahore was claimed by Jamaat-ul-Ahrar, an increasingly effective faction of the Pakistani Taliban which has carried out several attacks in the north-western Peshawar valley region during the last few months.

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Mr Sharif visited some of the injured in hospital. At the later security meeting, he said defeating terrorism was imperative.

“Our resolve as a nation and as a government is getting stronger and the cowardly enemy is trying for soft targets,” he said.

Child's funeral - 28 MarchImage copyrightAFP
Image captionDozens of children were among the dead

Mr Sharif added that security forces should go after the militants before they were able to strike again.

“I want more proactive co-ordination between law enforcement and intelligence agencies,” he said.

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