Washington: Strongly condemning the “cowardly” terror attack in Lahore, the US has said together with its partners in Pakistan and across the region it will be unyielding in efforts to root out the scourge of terrorism.
“The United States condemns in the strongest terms today’s appalling terrorist attack in Lahore. This cowardly act in what has long been a scenic and placid park has killed dozens of innocent civilians and left scores injured,” said Ned Price, spokesman National Security Council, White House.
“We send our deepest condolences to the loved ones of those killed, just as our thoughts and prayers are with the many injured in the explosion,” he said adding that the US stands with the people and the government of Pakistan at this difficult hour. “We will continue to work with our partners in Pakistan and across the region, as together we will be unyielding in our efforts to root out the scourge of terrorism,” Price said.
A large number of people including Christians were present in the Gulshan-e-Iqbal Park in Iqbal Town area of Lahore when the powerful blast occurred in the evening, leaving many in a pool of blood. The brutal attack by a suicide bomber — believed to be in his 20s — was claimed by the Jamaatul Ahrar, a splinter group of the Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP).
Strongly condemning the Lahore terror attack, State Department Spokesman John Kirby said this cowardly act, which targeted innocent civilians in the Gulshan-e-Iqbal Park, has killed dozens and left scores injured. “The United States stands with the people and Government of Pakistan at this difficult hour. We send our deepest condolences to the loved ones of those killed and injured, and our thoughts and prayers are with the people of Lahore as they respond to and recover from this terrible tragedy,” Kirby said.
“Attacks like these only deepen our shared resolve to defeat terrorism around the world, and we will continue to work with our partners in Pakistan and across the region to combat the threat of terrorism,” he said. Senator Ben Cardin, ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, in a statement condemned the terror attack in Lahore on a holy day for Christians.
“My thoughts and prayers are with the people of Pakistan. The United States and our allies will remain committed to countering these heinous attacks and to bringing those responsible to justice,” he said.
The “cowardly mass execution” of innocent women and children, is an outrage, said John Kasich, Republican presidential candidate.
“Coming on the heels of the terrorist attacks in Belgium, it is further confirmation that radical terrorists are at war with our culture, our values and our way of life,” Kasich said.
US-PAK 2 LAST “This type of terrorism is an existential threat to all who share our values. It must be defeated. The need for a strong America is greater than ever, and we must rise to the challenge. “When America retreats or shows weakness, the entire world shudders. We must redouble our efforts with Pakistan to identify and eliminate terror groups, which Pakistan now recognises pose a dire threat to its own national security as well,” Kasich said.
“Let us remember the victims and their families in our thoughts and prayers as we gather strength and resolve to defeat all who threaten our values,” he added.
The horrific terror attack on Easter Sunday in Lahore targeting Christians and children deserves special condemnation in a seeming never ending stream of terrorist events, said Jonathan A Greenblatt, CEO of Anti-Defamation League.
“It reminds us that terrorism is a threat to all civilization and that nations must all stand together if we are to defeat it. And, while the mass killing of Christians on Easter Sunday is particularly pernicious, we should not lose sight of the fact that the greatest number of Islamic terrorist attacks are directed at Muslims and often at their religious institutions and on religious holidays,” he said.
“Whether in Asia, Africa, Europe, the Middle East or North America, terrorism has no place in a civilized society and that good people need to stand up whenever innocents are slaughtered for no reason other than to spread violence and promote hatred,” Greenbelt said.
PAK-OPERATIONS 2 LAST (Reopens FGN19) Sharif said that winning the war against terrorism was “imperative” for the country. He once again resolved to eliminate the threat of terrorism from the country, according to an official statement.
“The terrorists have assassinated our kids; sons and daughters in this war, and God willing, we will wipe them out from this country,” he said.
The meeting was attended by Chief Minister Punjab Shahbaz Sharif, Interior Minister Nisar Ali Khan, and Law Minister Punjab Rana Sanaullah Khan. Earlier in the day, the Prime Minister visited Jinnah hospital Lahore on his arrival from Islamabad and met the injured of the Gulshan-i-Iqbal tragedy.
Wishing them good health and speedy recovery, Sharif spent some time with the injured and was also briefed on their condition by hospital management.
He directed for special medical care of the injured. Former interior minister Rehman Malik had said that there were at least 150 sleeper cells of banned Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ) – which reportedly has joined hands with the banned Tahreek-e-Taliban Pakistan – in south Punjab.