The ECLJ condemns the recent brutal attacks on Christian churches in Pakistan. Two churches in Youhanabad, Lahore, were targeted by suicide bombers on 15 March 2015. The first attack took place at the entrance of Christ Church (a Protestant church) and the second outside St. John’s Catholic Church during their Sunday services. The attackers blew themselves up outside both churches after they were stopped by the churches’ Christian voluntary security guards, killing at least seventeen people and injuring eighty others. Jamaat-ul-Ahrar, an affiliate group of the Pakistani Taliban, has claimed responsibility for the attacks.
Eye-witnesses told members of ECLJ’s affiliate in Pakistan that two attackers came running towards Christ Church. One of the attackers was firing his weapon at the by-standers, clearing the way for his accomplice. The voluntary security guards at the church, Khalid Bashir, Obaid Sardar, and Zahid Yousaf, tackled the attacker and prevented him from going inside the church. They were pushing the attacker away from the church’s gate when the attacker detonated the bomb, killing himself, Bashir, Yousaf, Sardar, and Sardar’s pregnant wife, Ambreen, among others.
The second attack occurred outside St. John’s Catholic Church within a few seconds of the first attack. Again, two attackers came running, while one was firing his weapon. Akash Masih, a voluntary security guard at the church, caught the suicide bomber while he was trying to climb the church’s boundary wall, and the attacker blew himself up. Unfortunately, these violent attacks lead to more violence.