The attack draws nationwide protests
Eighthy-five people were killed and more than 100 injured in a suicide blast at Pakistan’s Peshawar church on Sunday.
Reports say the bloody attack is dubbed as the deadliest ever attack on Pakistan’s Christians and drew nationwide protests.
Many speculated that two Islamist militant groups with Taliban links said perpetrated the attack in retaliation of US drone strikes in the north.
Witnesses said they heard two blasts and later suicide vests were later discovered outside the church.
The All Saints’ church in Peshawar has been considered the symbol of interfaith unity ever since it was built in 1800’s.
Pakistani Christians represent about 1.6% of the country’s Muslim population.
Who is responsible for the attack?
Reports say two militant groups claiming responsibility. The extremist groups who claimed responsibility of the attack were Jandullah and the Junood ul-Hifsa. Both groups have records to have past connections with the Pakistani Taliban.
However, the Pakistani Taliban group denied the accusation and instead they condemned the attack.
It is the latest in a series of attacks on Pakistani Christians, who represent about 1.6% of the country’s overwhelmingly Muslim population.
One provincial lawmaker, Fredrich Azeem Ghauri, said there were about 200,000 Christians in the province, of whom 70,000 lived in Peshawar, Agence France-Presse news agency reported.
US saddened by the attack
In her statement in Washington DDc, Department Spokesperson Jen Psaki expressed her deepest condolences to the families and friends of the victims of Sunday’s heinous attack on a church in Peshawar.
“We wish those who were injured a full and speedy recovery.” – Ms. Harf
She says the United States joins Pakistani and world leaders in condemning this brutality and the US government supports Pakistan’s efforts to bring the perpetrators to justice.
In addition, the United States remains concerned about continuing sectarian violence in Pakistan that has brought heartache to Sunnis, Shia, Christians, and members of other communities across the country.
Ms. Harf says the extremist violence against innocent Pakistani men, women, and children of any faith is an assault on universal human values.
Attack on Pakistani Christians not something new
According to reports, attacks on Christian areas is not something new for everyone. Howvever, Sunday’s bloody attack in populated Christian residential area in Peshawa was the most violent in recent history.
In 2009, 40 houses and a church were set ablaze by a group of more than 1,000 Muslims in the town of Gojra in Punjab province. At least seven Christians were burnt to death.
In 2001, 17 Christians were killed in an attack on a church in Bahawalpur as well.