Suicide bomber goes off on Easter Sunday in Lahore

Photo+Courtesy+of+Rahat+Dar+from+the+European+Pressphoto+Agency

Photo Courtesy of Rahat Dar from the European Pressphoto Agency

Prayag Bhakar, Tech Editor

A suicide bomber killed 74 people near a park in Lahore, Pakistan on Easter Sunday and left 362 others severely injured. Jamaat-ul-Ahrar, a splinter group of the Taliban, later claimed responsibility for the attack and stated that it was specifically made against the Pakistani Christian population. Lahore has seen various terrorist attacks in the past and most of them were also aimed at Pakistan’s Christian minority. Ehsanullah Ehsan, a spokesman for Jamaat-ul-Ahrar, promised that similar attacks will continue to happen.

Protests erupted near the Pakistani capital of Islamabad later that day in retaliation to the Blasphemy Law, a law that makes insulting Islam a crime punishable by death. The current governor of Lahore, Malik Muhammad Rafique Rajwana, has also spoken out against the law.

Senior Eugene Kim is convinced that not being able to freely talk about groups such as Jamaat-ul-Ahrar lets them act in whatever way they please.

“These terrorist groups generally hide in the loopholes in the laws of various governments and the Blasphemy Law is one such loophole,”  Kim said. “This law allows similar organizations to continue working without being held accountable from the public. Unfortunately, the perception is that the public cannot talk about the groups without talking about Islam.”

Security forces led raids on various locations in Lahore, Faisalabad and Multan on Monday in order to catch potential suspects. As tips continued to be sent to Pakistani officials, they acted accordingly, taking no risk of letting any suspect go.

Sophomore Avnika Srivastava thinks that the force used by the Pakistani government will only lead to an increased amount of support for terror groups.

“I understand why they would act like this but I don’t think they thought it through,” Srivastava said. “The violence will only cause more people to run to the terrorist organization for safety because they see their government as a greater cause of violence and fear.”

Many countries such as India, the United States and Australia, among others, have come out and condemned the attack. The U.S. has stated that it will continue to work with Pakistan and will offer any support possible.

Social studies teacher Jason Spoor-Harvey believes that there is a way to stop future attacks, but violence is not one of them.

“Ideally, a solution involves providing hope and opportunity,” Harvey said. “From interviews I have seen and read, it seems that the most attractive elements of these groups, especially in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan, is that they provide assurances of stability, protection from violence, and income to those that join. If there were greater educational and economic opportunities along with greater stability the most attractive features of these groups would disappear. However, this is much more difficult than responding with increased military force.”