By Joseph DeCaro
(Worthy News) - At least 70 people have been killed and more than 300 wounded in a suicide bombing targeting Christians celebrating Easter in Lahore, Pakistan.
According to International Christian Concern, the bombing was one of the deadliest attacks against Christians in Pakistan, second only to the suicide bombing of All Saints Church in Peshawar in 2013.
At approximately 6:30 p.m., a homicide bomber detonated his explosives in the parking lot of Gulshan e-Iqbal Park where many Christian families were celebrating Easter Sunday. At least 29 children were killed in the explosion.
A spokesman for the Jamaat Ul-Ahrar group -- an offshoot of the Pakistani Taliban -- publicly took responsibility for the attack.
"It was our people who attacked the Christians in Lahore. It's our message to the government that we will carry out such attacks again until sharia is imposed in the country."
Peter Jacob, Executive Director of the Center for Social Justice, told ICC that Ul-Ahrar will continue to challenge the political will of the Pakistani government while its Christian community becomes the victim of their power struggle.
William Stark, ICC's Regional Manager for South Asia, said it was sad to see yet another senseless act of violence against Pakistan's already vulnerable Christians.
"Christians and their places of worship are seen as convenient targets by Pakistan's terrorists. Not only are they poorly protected by Pakistan's security forces, they are also seen as an extension of the West in Pakistan. Following the bombings of All Saints Church in 2013, Pakistan's Supreme Court wrote a suo moto opinion that demanded the Pakistani government take steps to secure both Christians and their places of worship. Many of the reforms detailed in that opinion have yet to be enacted. Because of this inability or unwillingness to protect the Christian minority, Christians in Pakistan have suffered two more major assaults by the country's terrorist networks...."