Monday Mar 28, 2016
LAHORE: There was only one ticket. Sahil, 7, and his sister were fighting over who would go first on the ride, when an explosion broke them apart.
“I was so scared. I looked for Bhaiya, but I only found his body,” said Angel at his funeral on Monday.
Of the 72 killed in the blast which rocked Lahore’s Gulshan-e-Iqbal Park on Sunday, 29 were children, all there to celebrate the weekend, which was also Easter Holiday for the large Christian minority in the city.
Sahil's mother, a widow, said she did not want her children to go to park.
“But they were excited. And I let them go with their Phuppo.”
She called to check on them at 6:00 PM in the evening. “They said they were coming home. But my son’s body greeted me.”
“God, show these terrorists the right path. No mother should ever have to go through my ordeal,” she wailed.
For seven-year-old Sameena, a holiday trip to Lahore became the last trip she ever took. She lost a long battle with death at Jinnah Hospital this morning.
The family of five from Sanghar took a trip to Lahore to visit their friend Amjad.
In the blast, Sameena lost her father, maternal uncle and brother. Her mother has been missing since the incident. Their host Amjad, his wife Zubeida, and their daughter lost their lives in the attack.
If death brings with it finality, families of victims who went missing in the blast are still waiting for news.
Saqawat Nizamani from and his 16-year-old son Fazeel Nizamani are injured from the blast. But his two sons -- 8 year old Rohail and 12 year old Ali Abbas are still missing. The family was visiting Lahore on a holiday.
The attack on Sunday evening in the busy Gulshan-i-Iqbal park killed mostly women and children enjoying an Easter weekend outing. Pakistan, a majority-Muslim country, has a Christian population of more than 2 million.
Sunday's terrorist attack was the deadliest in since the December 2014 massacre of 134 school children at Army Public School in the city of Peshawar that prompted a military-led crackdown on militancy and terrorism.
"We must bring the killers of our innocent brothers, sisters and children to justice and will never allow these savage inhumans to over-run our life and liberty," military spokesman Asim Bajwa said in a post on Twitter.
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif's office condemned the blast as a cowardly act and said a response had been ordered, without elaborating.
Lahore is the capital of Punjab province and is seen as the country's political and cultural heartland. Markets, schools and courts in the city were closed on Monday as the city mourned.
The Punjab government has announced three days of mourning. The provincial governments of Sindh, Balochistan, and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa are also observing a day of mourning today.