ECPM is shocked by the terrorist attacks that took place in Lahore, Pakistan on Easter Sunday. Our thoughts and prayers are with the people of Lahore. The attack was claimed by Jamaat-ul-Ahrar, a terrorist group linked to the Taliban. The main target of the attacks were Pakistani Christians. Christians in Pakistan face persecution and violence on a daily basis. ECPM calls on the Pakistani government to actively combat extremist Islamic ideologies that justify violence against Christians and other religious minorities in Pakistan.
Moreover, there is an urgent need for a coherent strategy to combat the breeding grounds for this violence against anyone who does not follow the extreme interpretation of Islam of the terrorists. ECPM calls on the Pakistani government to actively promote freedom of speech, conscience and religion. The Pakistan government needs to play an active role in facilitating peaceful debate and dialogue. The response to this terrorist attack should not be merely a police action against the perpetrators, it should be action that promotes the virtues that the terrorists try to undermine: freedom, open dialogue and tolerance.