The death of 40 worshippers in twin suicide blasts in a highly venerated sufi shrine of Lahore popularly known as Data Darbar on the night of July 1,2010 has outraged many Pakistanis, who have started wondering whether their Government has lost control over terrorists of its own creation, whether Pakistan is imploding due to religious hatred and violence. Annexed are some of the comments taken from the web site of an organisation called All Things Pakistan (http://pakistaniat.com/2010/07/01/data-darbar-blast/ ).
2.Thursday is the congregation day in the shrine when the maximum number of worshippers gather at night (jumaraat). The shrine is considered sacred not only by all Muslims----Shias, Sunnis and Ahmadias--- but also by Hindus . In fact, before Pakistan was born in 1947 a large number of Hindus from all over India used to visit the shrine.
3.The shrine was, in fact, electrified by a Hindu landlord living near the shrine in gratitude for the recovery of his sons from a severe attack of flu. Doctors had given up hopes for their recovery. The landlord believed that it was the saint in whose honour the shrine had been built, who came to his house at night and touched his sons who were in their deathbed. They recovered the next day.
4.Data Darbar is one of the oldest Muslim shrines in the subcontinent. It houses the remains of a Sufi saint, Abul Hassan Ali Hajvery. He was of Persian origin and was born in the 11th century in Ghazni, Afghanistan. From there he migrated to Iraq and spent the last years of his life in Lahore where he died and is buried.
5.No organisation has so far claimed responsibility for the suicide blasts, but the needle of suspicion points to its probably being an act of reprisal against the Pakistan Government by the Jundullah of Iranian Balochistan and the anti-Shia and anti-Iran Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LEJ) of Pakistan in retaliation for the suspected collaboration of Pakistan with Iran in the arrest of Abdolmalek Rigi , the Amir of the Jundullah, who was captured by the Iranian intelligence as he was flying to Kyrgyzstan from Dubai and executed last month after a short trial.
6.The "Dawn" of Karachi has reported as follows on the suicide blasts:
"In the first terrorist attack of its kind in the Punjab capital, two alleged suicide bombers blew themselves up at the Data Ganj Bakhsh shrine on Thursday night, killing at least 40 people and injuring 170 others. The first explosion took place in the basement reserved for ablution and the second in front of the shrine’s main building where a large number of people from across the province gather for worship on Thursdays.
" At first, police announced that some crackers had exploded near the shrine. The two bombers entered the shrine and exploded themselves three minutes apart. Surveillance cameras, walkthrough gates and metal detectors turned out to be ineffective. Around 100 volunteers and several policemen were present in and around the shrine, searching visitors thoroughly.
"Senior Superintendent of Police (Operations) Chaudhry Shafiq Ahmad told Dawn that two suicide attacks had been carried out and investigators had found the bombers’ skulls and limbs. He said ball-bearings and other material used in the blasts had also been collected. Lahore Commissioner Khusro Pervaiz Bakhtiar told journalists at the spot that the bombers had blown themselves up during a large congregation. In reply to a question about involvement of a foreign hand in the attack, he said the strike was a horrible conspiracy but “our own people become instruments in the hands of others”.
" The official said an investigation had been launched about the breach in security measures. According to witnesses, the explosions were so powerful that a large number of people fell down and several of them were injured in a stampede. The shrine’s administration announced seconds after the first blast that a generator had exploded in the basement and they might continue their activities. The bomb disposal squad estimated that 10-15kgs of explosives had been used in each suicide jacket.
" Ambulances of Rescue 1122 and the Edhi Foundation took the bodies and injured people to hospitals. According to a devotee, two gates on the north and south side of the shrine, which usually remain closed, were open on Thursday. He suspected that the bombers had entered through those gates. Scores of enraged people gathered outside the shrine and protested against terror attacks. They also damaged public and private property. There were reports that a cracker was exploded before the suicide blasts to create a panic.
"Police evacuated Data Darbar to collect evidence and carry out rescue work. All commercial and residential buildings adjoining the shrine were also searched for suspects. Following the blasts, an extensive crackdown was launched across the city and several people were detained for interrogation. A suspect was also taken into custody near the Darbar. Rumours of terror attacks on other shrines in the city panicked devotees and police also launched a search operation there. Security was beefed up in and around all shrines and religious places." (2-7-10)
( The writer is Additional Secretarty( retd), Cabinet Secretariat, Govt. of India, New Delhi, and, presently, Director, Institute For Topical Studies, Chennai, and Associate of the Chennai Centre For China Studies. E-mail: email@example.com )
( COMMENTS FROM THE PAKISTANI WEB SITE MENTIONED IN THE FIRST PARA)
"That Lahore’s single most iconic and revered location has been attacked - and on a jumaraat, which many consider to be sacred - reeks with symbolism and speaks volumes about the depth of hatred that these murderers have for all things Pakistan. Yes, I take this personally. Just as I have taken every murder of innocent Pakistanis anywhere in Pakistan, personally. Anyone who loves Lahore cannot hear of this and not have a shiver go down the spine; as it went mine. But that shiver is now a nearly daily occurrence. Whatever the symbolism of Data Sahib may be, it is paled by the outrage at the murder - yet again - of innocent people: the begunah, the masoom!
I would like to find the words to express that outrage, to express what Data Darbar means to so many, to describe the pain that pounds me once again as it has each time these murderers have hit Pakistanis anywhere. I would like to do that but - quite literally - my hands are trembling, my eyes have swelled up, and that shiver up my spine has gripped my entire body. Maybe later I will find the words to say what I need to say, but right now I ponder only on the darkness that resides in the hearts of the men who commit these acts, those who plan them, and those who choose to justify them.
Eidee Man says:
July 1st, 2010 10:49 pm
It is often said that nations are not destroyed by outsiders; they implode. If the fact that this attack happened on a religious gathering doesn’t cause a national outrage against the terrorist groups, then I really don’t see how our society can survive.
ATP Administrator says:
July 1st, 2010 10:43 pm
Some comments from the ATP Facebook Page:
- “How inhuman these cursed Taliban are. They kill Muslims everywhere they find us.”
- “That was not done by Talibans, Its for Sure Blackwaters, American backed terrorist organization, and this bloody Govt. of Zardari is allied with it.
Can’t you ever think all these events happen within Lahore, so neatly, that non of our so called ISI, CIA or Punjab police can even trace their back. Talibans can never be so organised and so trained….
No one get captured, because these people are safely transported into Lahore by Federal Govt. and they most probably reside in Balawal house or Governor house Lahore…
Google Sirilankan team attack in Lahore you would get some pretty fine articles stating that attackers went all the way till Bilawal house In model town Lahore and then disappeared….. If your president can kill his wife for money, then who are ordinary people not to be killed for the sake of money……”
- “i dnt agre wid u all that was a revnge by the qadiani.s………”
- “[above comments] an excellent example of “Parha Likha Jahil”.”
- “it is done by Pakistani talibans which are created by CIA and RAW to give a bad name to Afghani talibans.. Pakistani talibans have nothing to do with Islam.. they are non religious people who are working for CIA and RAW and our poor puppet government is doing nothing about it.. people are dying due to poverty and inflation and our government is still fighting to gain power over judiciary..
Long live PAK Army and Intelligence.. and Long Live Pakistan”
- “For Sure it was not done by Qadiani, they were already under greaf…”
- “being muslim is a distant thing, wahabis and taliban are not even human. The extremist version of sunni islam has gotten out of hand and we need to start making amends straight away. wahabism is zaleelism. it will drag us down into oblivion.”
- “There is but only ONE solution to all the violence in Pakistan - declare it a secular state, ban all the religious parties (political or non-political), ban all the public display of any religion .. and change the education to secular thoughts .. otherwise be prepared to live in 7th century”
- “”Taliban can never be so organised or trained”..Doesnt take much organisation to use children as bombs..All you need is a good deal of brainwashing which the taliban and taliban loving madrassas r extremely good at. There might be a hidden hand but taliban is not an innocent lot. We should learn to recognize the enemy within us…”
- “They say never happened in 800 years ,,, and i am sure its a foreign hand in it ,, dumbo security”
- “and the typical rhetoric goes on - CIA, RAW, Musad, Hindu Jewish lobby, Zardari, Qadiani .. as many fingers as many directions .. cant you all open your eyes and see it is the militant religious zealots who are doing all this .. and the only way to delete the word “Islamic republic” from Pakistan and start to live in the 21st century”
- “My blood boils at all the idiots and traitors who come to defend the Taliban who are the enemies of Pakistan. ALll the people who are defending the Taliban and giving stupid conspiracy theories, how many Pakistanis do you want to kill? Why do you hate Muslims? I say anyone defending the Taliban and these killers or trying to distract attention by stupid theories about foreign hands etc., they are all traitors and enemies of Pakistan themselves because they are supporting the killers of Pakistan.
Muhammad Usman Ghani says:
July 1st, 2010 10:15 pm
The event makes one speechless but more speechless I get over the conspiracy theorists comments we will face over this issue in days to come.
Praful Shah says:
July 1st, 2010 10:02 pm
Looking the photos, reading the news makes me angry as well as sad. These monsters were created and nurtured to kill Indians, especially Hindus. These were Pakistan army’s additional wing with blessing from Mr. Nawaz Sharif & Mrs. Bhutto. Now the chickens are coming home to roost.
Sadly, neither Pakistanis politicians nor Pakistani army (ISI) does not give a damn. If they stop sheltering these sobs, the war will be over in very short time.
What scares me most if they attack US as they did in 2001, I do not think US and The West will take lightly. It is matter of time they will have access to Pakistani Nukes. Than what?
God only can help. ( 2-7-10)