The provincial capital of Punjab saw one of the worst attacks in a year, with a suicide bombing in Gulshan Iqbal Park in Iqbal Town. The death toll currently stands at 55 with both women and children part of the casualties. 150 people have also been wounded, and the saddest part is that the target was the Christian community yet again. While the bombing took place in a park, families were in the park to celebrate Easter.

The last major incident in Lahore was two simultaneous attacks on two churches in Yohanabad, Lahore.

It is not surprising that Punjab was targeted after the recent outcry from religious circles regarding the domestic violence bill. The problem is that that what was expected should have been prevented. Additionally, the fact that it was Easter on Sunday, a Christian religious holiday, security forces should have been put on high alert given the fact that the Christian community is frequently targeted in terrorist attacks. When is the government going to prioritise the protection of minorities? The government is still working on looking to find out what exactly happened, and it claims that it had no intelligence about this attack, but clearly the security measures in and around Lahore are still not adequate. The park had no security cameras, hence it will be difficult to piece the events accurately in order to prevent this in the future.

This attack puts the claims of success of Zarb-e-Azb, and more specifically the provincial government’s move to keep extremist clerics in check in a questionable position. Punjab has been notoriously infiltrated with groups such as LeT, JuD and others, that promote sectarian ideals and look to target minorities. This attack and the one in Yohanabad the previous year only indicate that Punjab still has safe havens that the terrorists penetrate, and open routes to carry out attacks right in the heart of the province.

Another big problem is that there are reports coming in of hospitals lacking the capacity to cater to the amount of those wounded and killed in the bombing. This is troubling in the extreme, because Lahore has one the best healthcare systems in the country, which is not saying much, but still should at least be able to handle emergency situations at a time like this. As grievous as this incident is, the nation has seen countless others like this, and one would hope that we would treat them as lessons learnt and counter for failures made in the past. But sadly, the government never learns.