Pope Francis has condemned the Easter Sunday attack in Lahore, Pakistan describing it as a “vile and senseless crime.”
At least 70 people, mostly from Lahore’s Christian community had gathered at a public park to celebrate Easter when an explosion occurred.
Most of the victims are said to be women and children.
Addressing a large crowd of Catholic faithful from the window of the Vatican’s Apostolic Palace overlooking St. Peter’s square, the Pope said “Easter was bloodied by a hideous attack that massacred so many innocent people, mostly families of the Christian minority gathered in a public park to enjoy the joy of the Easter holidays.”
He expressed his “closeness” to all those affected by “this vile and senseless crime” which has been claimed by a breakaway Taliban militant group and asked that “you pray to the Lord for the many victims and their loved ones.”
Pope Francis condemned the Pakistan suicide attack, which killed at least 70 people, as “vile and senseless.” https://t.co/e6EkCtcC3S
— AJ+ (@ajplus) March 28, 2016
The Pope also appealed to “civil authorities” in Pakistan “to make every effort to restore security and serenity to the population, and in particular to the most vulnerable religious minorities.”
Pope Francis also reminded the crowd who he led in prayers for the victims of the Pakistan attack and other minorities in the region that violence bred more violence.
“Violence and murderous hatred only lead to pain and destruction. Respect and fraternity are the only way to achieve peace. May the Passover of the Lord inspire us even more to pray to God to stop the hands of the violent ones who sow terror and death and for love, justice and reconciliation to reign in the world,” the Pontiff said.