India, Indonesia Join World Condemnation of Pakistan Suicide Blast

Tia Asmara
2016.03.28
Jakarta
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160328_ID_Lahore_1000.jpg Pakistani children injured in a suicide bombing rest in a hospital in Lahore, March 28, 2016.
AFP

The Easter Sunday attack by a Taliban suicide bomber that killed more than 70 people at a park in Lahore, Pakistan is drawing condemnation from India, Indonesia and the United States as well as nations across the globe.

Indonesian President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo took to Twitter to condemn the attack early Monday.

“Indonesia strongly condemns the bombing in Lahore. Terror is not allowed by any name. Deep condolences to the victims, the people of Pakistan,” Jokowi wrote.

Indonesia issued a news release from its embassy in Islamabad saying it had no information as yet about whether any citizens were injured in the attack.

Indonesian Foreign Affairs Minister Retno Marsudi said the embassy was coordinating with security authorities and hospitals in Lahore, and an embassy team had been dispatched from Islamabad to Lahore.

“We have some students in Lahore and have communicated with the students and student groups to determine whether they know that their friends are not missing,” she was quoted as saying on the Indonesian cabinet secretary website.

29 children dead

The suicide bombing was claimed by the Jamaat-ul-Ahrar, a faction of the Pakistani Taliban, according to Reuters. The group said it was targeting Christians.

Rescue spokeswoman Deeba Shahbaz said the death toll had risen to 72 on Monday, with 29 children among the dead, according to AFP.

A spokesman for the Lahore city administration said 10 to 15 Christians were among those killed as authorities continued efforts to identify the dead.

About 8,000 people were in the park when the attacker detonated a bomb packed with ball bearings.

It was the fifth bombing by Jamaat-ul-Ahrar since December 2015 and the deadliest in Pakistan since December 2014 when a Taliban attack on a military academy in Peshawar killed 134 school children.

Indian condolences

Late Sunday, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi offered his nation’s condolences to the victims.

“PM Narendra Modi called Pakistan PM Nawaz Sharif to express his deep condolences at the terrorist attack in #Lahore,” Vikas Swarup, spokesman for the Ministry of External Affairs said in a tweet.

Calling the attack cowardly, Modi “underlined the need for uncompromising efforts to fight against terrorism,” Swarup wrote.

Modi himself condemned the attack on Twitter.

“Heard about the blast in Lahore. I strongly condemn it. My condolences to families of the deceased and prayers with the injured,” Modi tweeted.

U.S. response

The U.S. State Department issued its own condemnation on Sunday.

“The United States stands with the people and government of Pakistan at this difficult hour. We send our deepest condolences to the loved ones of those killed and injured, and our thoughts and prayers are with the people of Lahore as they respond to and recover from this terrible tragedy,” spokesman John Kirby said in a news release.

“Attacks like these only deepen our shared resolve to defeat terrorism around the world, and we will continue to work with our partners in Pakistan and across the region to combat the threat of terrorism.”

Rohit Wadhwaney in Jaipur, India contributed to this report.

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