The attackers detonated themselves in quick succession at two churches, one catholic and the other protestant, in the Eastern district of Lahore. Those killed include 11 Christians and two security guards. Many who survive remain in a critical condition.
The first blast occurred outside the main gate of St. John’s Catholic Church, when a security denied the bomber entry The second occurred at the premises of Christ Church, a short distance away.
Since the attack, members of the Christian community in Pakistan have taken to the streets in violent protest. Suspected militants were killed and set ablaze by the rioters. Over 200 protesters rushed the streets of Lahore and Karachi, destroying property and smashing buses.
Pope Francis condemned the attacks and said that “It´s with pain, much pain that I was told of the terrorist attacks against two Christian churches in Lahore in Pakistan, which have caused numerous deaths and injuries” and that “the world is seeking to hide the persecution of Christians.”
The Pakistani Ulema, led by Sahibzada Hamid Raza, has said that such attacks amount to attacks on the faith of Islam and the nation itself.
Conflict in the Middle East has engendered tension across the world. Very recently, the Nigerian militant group Boko Haram has pledged their allegiance to the terrorist organisation ISIS. Individuals and minor terrorist groups have also taken after those in the Syria and Iraq.
The noticeable rise in communal violence in Pakistan is perhaps a result of this conflict, but incidents of this kind are not new to Pakistan. In 2013, a Peshawar church was the target of a bomb attack in which 85 people were killed. The Taliban are assuming responsibility for this particular attack. It is seen as a bid to further divided an already divided nation.