The Pakistani military has taken over operations against terrorism in the Punjab. While they are engaged in operations to uncover terrorist and IS hideouts and their networks, concerns have grown that in retaliation, terror groups will carry out their threats to continue to lash out and attack minority groups, women and children, which means schools, parks and places of worship of non-Muslim groups.
Meanwhile, Pakistan continues to mourn and to heal in the wake of the devastating Easter Sunday attack. Teams visited hospitalized victims and prayer teams went out to make visits. There are an overwhelming number in need of a listening ear, a shoulder to cry on, and to be upheld in prayer. One lab technician confided that, “All of them are Christians no one will tell you that though.” Hospitals are under heavy scrutiny amid concerns that Christian survivors who are alive in hospitals could be targeted by terrorist organizations returning to finish a job they feel is left incomplete.
Parvaiz Masih didn’t know his son was among the hundreds injured in the Easter bombing at the crowded park until the teen had already been rushed to the hospital.
“I don’t know when Waqar left and went to the park with friends,” said the 16-year-old boy’s father. “After he got injured he was taken up to Sheikh Zahid Hospital, from where he was shifted to the Mayo Hospital, but he succumbed to his injuries,” Masih told World Watch Monitor.
Christian leaders and politicians attended funeral services on Monday, March 28. Social activist Kashif Suba told World Watch Monitor that he lost three of his young cousins: Sahil Rehmat, 10; Somal Tariq, 12; and Sahil Masih, 17. “They had gone to the park with their parents who were looking at their children when the suicide bomber ripped through the crowd and blew himself up,” Suba said.
He shared that parliamentarians, including Punjab Assembly member Shunila Ruth; Ports and Shipping Minister Senator Kamran Michael, as well as the Anglican Bishop of Raiwind, Azad Marshall, attended the boys’ funeral to show their support for the grieving family.
One mourner reflected, “When you have seen death—you have seen children fly into the air whole, and fall back on the earth in slivers and pieces—what have you got to fear? Something fills you with the knowledge that if you lived through that, you will live through anything God wants you to. And will die from anything God wants to use to take you. I don’t know why God gave me life. I would rather die. I am not afraid, just desperately confused.”
Another mourner recalled a heart wrenching scene at a funeral for a young boy: “People tried to move away a little boy curled up by the coffin, and to tell him to let them put it in the ground. People were spent from tears and crying, and yet found some energy to dig the graves of their loved ones. The little boy would not let go and wept. I asked the family to let him hold the coffin a little more, and then he looked at me, and we locked eyes before he said, ‘He was my brother after all’.”
Source: World Watch Monitor
Father, our minds replay the picture of that little boy curled up next to his brother’s coffin. Touch him with Your healing love and compassion. And there are so many others like him—parents, siblings, friends—who struggle to make sense of the horror. Please encourage and strengthen them through Your Word and through the prayers of those who surround them. Calm their fears, Father, as they look to an uncertain future, strengthening their faith and assuring them of Your presence with them through all of their circumstances. We pray for the safety of the nurses, doctors and lay people who are visiting and praying with those who mourn. And we pray for the police and military as they seek to bring order and secure the safety of those they are called to protect. And may Your gospel go forth in great power during this time of confusion, drawing many to Yourself in saving faith. In the name of Jesus, our sure anchor of hope in a world of turmoil. Amen.