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Pakistan: Grief and anger of Christians over deadly church attacks in Lahore

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Pakistan: Grief and anger of Christians over deadly church attacks in Lahore


Pakistan’s Christians are in mourning after suicide blasts outside two churches killed at least 15 people in the eastern city of Lahore.

The grief-stricken family of one victim, nine-year-old Sajid Umar, gathered around the little boy’s body and cried out their pain.

Nearly 80 people were injured in Sunday’s twin explosions.

Grief was mixed with anger and an enraged mob killed two men suspected of involvement. Protesters also began smashing up shops and attacking vehicles. Police and several politicians were chased from the scene, residents said.

Authorities are being accused of not doing enough to stem spiralling violence in the country.

“What sort of government is this. You can neither go anywhere nor do anything,” said local resident Ismail Khan on his way to work.

“Explosions on a daily basis. Troubles on a daily basis. What are they doing? They seem to be able to do nothing.”

Two policemen assigned to the churches were among the dead in this latest attack on Pakistan’s Christians, claimed by a faction of the county’s Taliban.

Lahore is the capital of Punjab, Pakistan’s wealthiest and most populous province and the political heartland of Prime Minister 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.

After the talks failed, the military launched an offensive in the remote northwestern region of North Waziristan along the Afghan border to push the Taliban from the last major region they controlled.

Islamist militants in Pakistan have attacked Christians and other religious minorities often over the past decade.

Anger and frustration at the latest violence have sparked protests nationwide.

And at the Vatican, Pope Francis spoke of his “deep pain” at “this persecution against Christians” that he said “the world tries to hide”.

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