LAHORE: The National Catholic Commission for Interfaith Dialogue and Ecumenism (NCCIDE) on Tuesday strongly condemned the deadly suicide blast that killed at least 74 people and injured over 300 in Lahore’s Gulshan-e-Iqbal Park on Sunday evening.

“This is an act of frustration and sheer brutality against innocent citizens as this heinous incident has affected lives of both Muslims and Christians who were enjoy holidays and celebrate festival of Easter with their families,” said NCCIDE Chairman Archbishop Sebastian Shaw and Honorary Executive Secretary Javaid William said in a joint statement, issued here.

Praying for the departed souls, they expressed deep condolences with the bereaved families who lost their near and dear ones in this tragedy. They also sympathised with those injured in the suicide attack and prayed for their early recovery. Besides religious places, the government should protect minorities throughout Pakistan, they said.

Keeping in view the prevailing situation, extraordinary security measures should be ensured at all public places, educational institutions and other important locations, they said.

“We appeal to the government to take meaningful and significant steps to ensure security of minorities as well,” said Shaw and William who also visited different hospitals including Sheikh Zayed and the Jinnah Hospital where they met blast victims.

“We can observe after visiting hospitals that the most affected are women and children in the incident,” they said. “We have seen the most barbaric attacks on humanity upon visiting the injured victims where several children are still in critical condition and many have been orphaned,” the two leaders said. “Pakistan is passing through a challenging phase,” they said, and stressed that every citizen should fully support all efforts to eliminate terrorists.–PR