By Cheryl Chan, Postmedia News
SURREY — It was a sombre and sorrowful Easter Sunday for many British Columbians following a deadly bombing at a public park in Lahore, Pakistan, that killed at least 65 people, mostly women and children.
B.C.’s Pakistani-Canadians reacted with grief and outrage over the suicide bomb attack, claimed by a Pakistani Taliban faction, which also injured more than 300.
“We have received with great shock (the) terrible news of the terrorist attack in Lahore on Easter Day,” said a statement by Naveed Waraich, general secretary of the Surrey-based Pakistani-Canadian Cultural Association of B.C. “We strongly condemned this act of terrorism and brutal victimization of innocent people in Pakistan as this is not what Islam has taught us as a religion of peace and harmony.”
Waraich said news of the bombing, which targeted Christians in the capital of Pakistan’s Punjab province, trickled down to the local community early Sunday morning and he started getting phone calls from concerned members.
“The fact this happened on Easter Sunday — that day is very important,” he said.
A vigil will be held at the Fiji Islamic Centre in Surrey on Monday to pray for the victims.
Haroon Khan, president of the Pakistan Canada Association, expressed condolences to Pakistan and the Christian community, and condemned the “cruelly-timed bombing” at the park.
A Canadian Muslim group, the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama’at, also condemned the attack, which president Lal Khan Malik described as a “gruesome and senseless act of violence.”
In a statement, Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson said he was “deeply saddened” to hear of the tragedy. “Vancouver condemns this ruthless act,” Robertson said.
“The horrific nature of this attack, when families came together as a community, is made even more tragic by so many children being among those worst affected.”
A candlelight vigil will be held at Surrey’s Holland Park on Tuesday night at 6:30 p.m.to honour the dead.