Gulshan Park bomb victims revisited

BPCA officers have been visiting hospital victims providing flowers and food and sharing time with them in prayer and counselling. They have paid for and
visited several Christian funerals and will soon start the long term rehabilitation for the victims our donations will extend to support. 

We sent all of volunteers and permanent officers to Lahore to offer help to the survivors of the Gulshan Park bomb attack.  The team included
Shamim Masih, Mehwish Bhatti and Navid Aziz our core management team.  The work has been arduous but we can now reveal more on the deplorable
state that extremist group Jamaat ul Ahraar (JUA) (a splinter group from the Taliban), have left casualties facing.

During the attack a suicide bomber blew himself up in Gulshan e Iqbal Park near a play area by the main entrance that was crowded with families. Many
of the families were Christians who were out celebrating the resurrection of their Lord Jesus Christ after having completed their morning Easter devotions.

So far we have discovered just over 20 of the fatalities were Christians despite the Pak-Governement claiming only 14 dead were Christians.  Six
of these Christian victims were from the town of Youhanabad that suffered explosive attacks on two churches on March 15 2015.   Over 50 surviving
casualties were Christians and this number looks like it too will increase, but in attempts to hide the impact on the Christian community few Pakistani
media groups are reporting on this.

JUA is a splinter faction of the banned outfit Tehreek e Taliban Pakistan (TTP) and claimed responsibility for the deadly attack.  They have declared
that the attack was targetting Christians on Easter under under an operation “Saut ul Raad” which will continue throughout this year. “We claim responsibility for the attack on Christians as they were celebrating Easter, spokesperson for the TTP Jamaat ul Ahrar, Ehsan ullah Ehsan said in a statement to local media. “It was part of our annual martyrdom attacks we have started this year, Ehsan rathere chillingly added “we had been waiting for this occasion.”

Pakistani Christians, are a frequently targeted community but the country and majority global Muslim community deny this.  Despite the statement
made by the leader of JUA  Ehsan ullah Ehsan, in which he clearly refers to the targeting of Christians, Muslim groups and the government of Pakistan have
treated this as a general Pakistani terrorist attack.   During a radio interview on BBC Asia Network whilst our Chairman Wilson Chowdhry and presenter
Nihal referred to the targeting of Christians, Muslim listeners repeatedly called in to say it was an attack on Pakistanis and not Christians and one
listener even went as far as saying that “Christians are not suffering but are doing well in certain communities, they are living together and Muslim
men are even marrying Christian girls.”  When Mr Chowdhry suggested that the Christian girls were being forced into these Islamic marriages he
was accused of making up the statistic. When Wilson Chowdhry later spoke about the hatred towards Christians inculcated in the minds of Pakistanis
through the national curriculum of Pakistan, a fact that has been evidenced by the United State Commission for Religious Freedom and the UK Foreign
Office, the liberal Muslim community of Britain totally denied this.  They spoke of attending Christians schools and receiving an egalitarian
education.  Wilson Chowdhry explained that is how education is taught in Christian schools in Pakistan and explained that the majority of rural
Pakistani children attend madrasser education as it is cheaper and less elite Muslim children attending government schools will be used to a more propaganda
led education.  Mr Chowdhry believes that the liberal elite in Pakistan are a minority and the majority of the population does not believe in
equality.   Wilson Chowdhry said:

“I was lambasted for explaining that the majority of Pakistanis hate Christians and will not even let them drink from the same wells as them for fear of contamination of the water and loss of their Islamic holiness.  Sadly it is this defensive deflection and attempts to protect the reputation of Pakistan and Islam by the essentially more liberal Muslims that stalls progress and has led to pariah status for Pak-Christians.”

He added:

“Muslims were killed in this attack with Christians at about a 50/50 split. However the attack was an attempt to kill Christians and to the bombers
I can only think that killing their own was deemed collateral damage, as their animosity towards Christians is so intense.  No death is permissible
but denying Christian targeting makes no sense and only falsely serves to undermine the claims by Pak-Christians that they are being persecuted.”

The full radio show can be listened to (here)

The explosion wounded more than 300 people and all of Lahore’s hospitals are working over capacity.  In Jinnah hospital our team were moved by
one of the saddest situations that our team have ever witnessed. Whilst most patients in all the hospitals have labels with their name followed by
‘blast victim,’ one of the beds simply has the word unknown written above it.  On the bed is a frail little boy of no more than three years old.
 The unnamed boy is struggling to breathe through a gas mask, is covered in tubes and has a two punctured lungs and little left of his eyes
that have been decimated in the bomb attack.  Our officer Mehwish Bhatti, said:

“I cried when I saw the tiny child on his own.  Apparently no-one has come looking for him and it is believed that the parents may be dead.  An appeal cannot be made to other family members as the name of the child obviously cannot be traced and he is unrecognisable in his current state.  The cruelty of this attack is a bitter pill to swallow.”

“Sarwar Masih an uncle of a young Christian man Waseem (18 years) who we visited at Sheikh Zaid Hospital, said:

“I cant understand why Muslims hate us so much but their cruelty is decimating our people. We have done nothing yet they still continue to persecute us.  I pray that their hearts grow softer.”

Mr James lost his son Naoman in the attack.  Another son Asher is seriously injured and will need to spend a few more days in hospital. Mr James

“I lost my eldest son and the pain is excruciating, he was a hard working good boy with his whole future ahead.  I know he will be in heaven today but the pain I have has not dimmed,I miss him so much.”

Asher James was injured in the attack he remembers the incident quite vividly. He said:

“We were walking up towards the bumper cars where the explosion took place.  There were lots of families there as the area before it had a lot of space and it is a popular ride as everyone enjoys this ride, whether serious or less mild thrill-seeker.  Children were with their mothers all queuing to get on one of the cars, when suddenly a blast occurred.  Everyone was thrown to the ground, but not everyone got back up.   The heat from the blast was intense and lasted for a few seconds, flames rose high above the rides even.  I was terrified and checked on my brother he was fine but was looking at me with some worry.  That is when I discovered my arm was wounded.  Then I felt the pain.”


Waseem son of Ameen Masih is a college student.  His father is a sanitary worker at the University of Punjab, however Waseeem has been continuing
his studies so he could make some progress with his life. He travelled to the park with his cousin Bilal and both were injured.

Bilal son of Bota had some serious injuries and was admitted at Sheikh Zaid Hospital.

A young  man named Abraham had gone for a trip to the park with his friends and was badly injured.  Sadly despite being taken to the hospital
he died from his wounds within an hour.  His parents did not make it in time to share his last moments.  His mother, Asia Bibi, 43, said:

“I am broken, my husband is depressed. Nothing can console us, the killers of my son must be brought to justice.  No-one should feel the pain of such a loss.”

Pastor Sajid Tanveer said:

“We pray for our country Pakistan, that it should remain safe forever. We pray for our Muslim brothers who have also been killed and injured in this attack. When you become a servant of God, you don’t think about funerals you think about the Bible and taking its message to the world – life, not death. But moments such as this reminds us that life is short and and our trust can only be in God.”  

We have set up a disaster recovery appeal to help and assist these families. Our donations will help secure medical supplies and pay for hospital treatments,
pay for funeral costs and help with the long term rehabilitation and trauma counselling of victims. If you would like to support our appeal financially
please contribute by using this link

(click here)

Sign our petition (click here)

Please pray:

God’s peace and comfort for casualities and their families.
Hospitals will provide proper care to injured Christians
Police and military will do their utmost to find and apprehend those responsible
That Britain and USA will reconsider the millions of aid to Pakistan which currently is given under the mistaken notion that they are allies in the war against terror.
That the BPCA can assist as many people as possible.