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‘We Have Arrived in Punjab’: Taliban Warns Pakistan Government

Jamaat ul-Ahrar, a splinter group of the Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan, claimed repsonsbility for the attack.

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An armed agent of the Pakistan Taliban. (Photo: Reuters)

The Pakistani Taliban faction behind the brutal Easter Sunday suicide bombing at a crowded park has warned that the terror attack was a “message” to the government about their “arrival” in Punjab, as the death toll today rose to 74 after two more people succumbed to their injuries.

Two critically injured teenagers of Lahore today died at the Jinnah Hospital, raising the death toll to 74.
Deeba Shahnaz, spokesperson, Emergency Services Rescue department

Shahnaz said over 100 injured people were still being treated at hospitals while 203 people had been discharged.

The dead include 29 children and 10 women; some 20 were Christians. More than 300 people were injured in the blast.

A suicide bomber – believed to be in his 20s – blew himself up at Gulshan-e-Iqbal Park, which is one of the popular parks in Lahore, a relatively peaceful city in Pakistan.

Read: Lahore Blast: 72 Killed, TTP Says it Targeted Christians on Easter

Eric John, bottom, who survived Sunday’s attack, cries during the funeral of his cousin, in Lahore. (Photo: AP/KM Chaudary)
Eric John, bottom, who survived Sunday’s attack, cries during the funeral of his cousin, in Lahore. (Photo: AP/KM Chaudary)

He struck at a time when thousands of people were visiting the park on Easter.

Jamaat ul-Ahrar, a splinter group of the Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan, claimed responsibility for the attack, saying they carried out “this attack to target Christians.”

Also, this is a message to the Pakistani Prime Minister that we have arrived in Punjab. 
Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan Spokesman

The spokesman even taunted Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Twitter. “After the Lahore attack, Nawaz Sharif repeated old words to give himself false assurances,” he wrote.

Nawaz Sharif should know that war has reached his doorstep, and God willing the mujahideen will be the winners in this war.
Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan Spokesman
Pakistan Nawaz Sharif addresses his nation on the Lahore blast. (Photo courtesy: ANI screengrab)
Pakistan Nawaz Sharif addresses his nation on the Lahore blast. (Photo courtesy: ANI screengrab)

Sharif yesterday vowed to eliminate terrorism:

Terrorists cannot dent our resolve. Our struggle will continue until the complete elimination of the menace of terrorism

In a post in Urdu on its Facebook page, the group released the bomber’s photo, identifying him as Salahuddin Khorasani.

The group had previously claimed responsibility for suicide bombings at two churches in Lahore in March 2015, and justified the attacks by terming Pakistan a “land of war”.

The Christians, Jews, and Zorastrians in Pakistan have neither converted to Islam nor paying Jizya. Under these circumstances, Christians, Hindus, etc, are not at peace, nor are their places of worship safe. 
After March 2015 attacks

It also claimed responsibility for a suicide attack at the Wagah Border minutes after the popular flag-lowering ceremony ended on 2 November 2014. Sixty-one people died in the blast.

Meanwhile, the Punjab Police faced embarrasment when the person they said was the bomber turned out to be a victim.

We investigated but could not find any link of (the person) or members of his family with terrorists. He appeared to be one of the visitors at the park. 
Senior police officer
A man stands next to bodies covered in sheets at the site of a blast, outside a public park in Lahore. (Photo: Reuters/Mohsin Raza)
A man stands next to bodies covered in sheets at the site of a blast, outside a public park in Lahore. (Photo: Reuters/Mohsin Raza)

He said forensic experts were trying to ascertain the identity of a man whose skull was found at the blast site.

Lahore police have issued a sketch of the suspected Taliban suicide bomber. The picture released by the militant organisation and the sketch by Lahore police have not yet been confirmed to be of the same person.

(At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)

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