Remembering the Lahore Massacre 5 years on
It has been more than five years ever since on Friday May 28th 2010, the day of the horrific Lahore massacre.
At the time of Friday prayers extremist gunmen simultaneously stormed two Ahmadiyya community places of worship in Lahore, causing devastating carnage.
A total of 94 worshippers were ruthlessly killed, 125 injured. This was the deadliest attack on the peaceful Ahmadiyya community.
The two places of worship of the Ahmadiyya community attacked were in Model Town and Garhi Shahu. Religious extremists with shot guns, AK-47s and grenades launched a sustained attack on the innocent victims. They indiscriminately killed young and old.
Some of the attackers were suicide bombers, exploding their ammunitions. Others caused damage and escaped, whereas some were caught and handed over to the police.
A few of the gunmen lingered around the mosque for a few hours before being overcome.
The Ahmadiyya community remains peaceful and loyal to Pakistan. Sir Muhammad Zafarullah Khan, Pakistan’s first Foreign Minister, President of the United Nations General Assembly and President of the International Court of Justice, was an Ahmadi and patriotic Pakistani. Professor Abdus Salam, Pakistan’s first Nobel Prize recipient in physics was also an Ahmadi. In addition there have been countless high ranking Army and Air Force officers that have defended Pakistan during the wars.
Quaid-e-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah said ‘You are free; you are free to go to your temples. You are free to go to your mosques or to any other places of worship in this State of Pakistan. You may belong to any religion, caste or creed- that has nothing to do with the business of the State’.
We have unfortunately slipped far away from the principles and ideology that Pakistan was built upon.
It is not for the religious extremists to decide who is a Muslim and who isn’t, let Allah be the judge of that.
Over the last 5 years we have continued to see an increasing multitude of terrorist attacks. More than 60 000 people have been killed. All religious groups have suffered Sunnis, Shias, Ismailis, Ahmadis and Christians. Foreigners also continue to be threatened. It is clear terrorism has no friends or allies only enemies.
The only way ahead is through peace, mutual tolerance and respect. We pray that the purposes of the hate ridden terrorists be nullified, and that Pakistan develops a secure future.
In January 2015, 2 of the accused Lahore gunmen were sentenced by Pakistan’s Anti Terrorism Court. It is a small step in the right direction.
My thoughts go out to the families of the 94 Lahore victims, who did not return home after Friday prayers, more than 5 years ago.