LAHORE - Citizens in Punjab capital city are going through a difficult time after the blast at Gulshan-i-Iqbal Park, with all the public parks closed till the government makes adequate security arrangements.

The Nation has found through a survey that the wave of agony and despair among Lahorites has not waned. People from different walks of life maintain that closure of parks is not the solution to the grave situation.

The prevailing atmosphere of fear in the city has deterred the families from visiting even the public places like parks, play lands and other places of recreation.

Metal detectors, walk through security gates, barbed wires on the boundary walls of the parks alone are not the solution. The government will have to take a number of confidence building measures to bring families back to the parks. The death of 72 innocent people including children and women in the Gulshan-i-Iqbal has created fear among the citizens.

Aneef Zubair, who just got promoted to fifth grade, complained that his father would not take him to the park for evening walk. “My papa says he will take me to Sozo Water Park after two weeks but I don’t know whether that is going to happen,” said the 10-year-old boy with a gloomy face.

Emanuel George, resident of Safa Wala Chowk, Mozang, who married a couple of weeks ago, said he has changed his mind from taking his wife for an outing, after the Gulshan-i-Iqbal incident.

“I don’t see enough security measures. People of Christian community are now being very careful going out in public places,” Emanuel told The Nation.

All the parks under Parks and Horticulture Authority have been closed for general public. But some like Bagh-i-Jinnah (Lawrence Garden) are open but the number of people visiting them is quite low.

“We cannot just sit in our homes, we are the citizens of this country and the government must provide us with enough security,” said Nazir Ahmed.

“I live nearby and have been visiting this garden since I was a child. Now my children accompany me daily for walk and play badminton here. We visit the park to relax after spending a hectic day,” the father of two said, adding that he was a businessman and could come only in the evening at about 7pm.

When contacted, PHA Director General Mian Shakeel said the authorities were reviewing the security measures of all the parks in the provincial capital.

“After receiving the Standard Operating Procedure (SOPs) on security from the government we will open the parks for general public. PHA will try its best to provide security in the parks,” Mian Shakeel said.