After Easter Sunday’s suicide strike at Gulshan-e-Iqbal Park in Lahore, Pakistan, killed over 70 people and injured over 300 others, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif addressed the nation on Monday and cancelled his upcoming visit to the US. Most of the victims were women and children.
“The terrorists are targeting educational institutes and parks to hide their disappointments and divisions,” the PM said in his address. “I am here to assure you that we will fight against terrorism till the elimination of the final terrorist.” The PM said that all state institutions are working in tandem.
“When I held office in 2013, we were the first one to initiate our journey against terrorism with complete political harmony. Pakistan Army initiated Zarb-e-Azb to root out terrorism from Pakistan,” he said. Nawaz highlighted that Islam is the religion of peace. “Our religion is the religious of peace. Islam says the murder of one human being is like the murder of humanity. Our Prophet (PBUH) has called the humanity and peace the top attribute of a Muslim,” he said. “Destroying the state’s buildings and other assets are not the sign of a Muslim and the tolerance of government must not be perceived as its weakness.”
Military operation in Punjab
Pakistan on Monday also launched a massive military operation in Punjab province in the wake of the deadly Taliban suicide bombing in Lahore, conducting raids and making several arrests. Intelligence agencies along with Army and Rangers personnel carried out a series of operations in different parts of Punjab, the country’s most populous province.
“A number of suspected terrorists and facilitators have been arrested during the five raids which were conducted in Lahore, Faisalabad and Multan after the Lahore suicide explosion,” army media wing Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) Director General Lt Gen Asim Bajwa said earlier but did not officially say that a widespread operation had been launched similar to the ones underway in the country’s northwest and Karachi.