Yet another horrific religiously-motivated massacre occurred this Sunday, this time in Pakistan. The New York Times:
The attack occurred as worshipers left the All Saints Church in the old quarter of the regional capital, Peshawar, after a service on Sunday morning. Up to 600 worshipers had attended the service and were leaving to receive free food being distributed on the lawn outside when two explosions ripped through the crowd.
Dozens of people were killed and more than 100 wounded, said Akhtar Ali Shah, the home secretary of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province.
The death toll continued to rise as rescue workers sifted through the damaged church property, said Hamid Ullah, a rescue worker with Al Khidmat Foundation, a rescue service operated by the Jamaat-e-Islami political party. He said his team had recovered 75 bodies.
The dead included women, children and two Muslim police officers who had been posted outside the church. Witness reported scenes of mayhem as rescue workers ferried victims from the church, which witnesses said was scattered with body parts, shrapnel and bloodied clothing.
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has been trying to open talks with the Pakistani Taliban, but his offers to negotiate have thus far been spurned. At first, the Taliban made sweeping, unmeetable demands of the government. And then as if to underline their contempt, they killed a senior Pakistani general near the Afghan border last week. And now this. The FT is reporting that Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, a Sunni Muslim militant group aligned to the Taliban, is thought to be responsible.
It’s hard to imagine how negotiations could continue after such a series of violent slaps in the face. That sound you hear may very well be the dirge playing for Nawaz Sharif’s ill-fated Taliban outreach efforts.
[Pakistani Christians stage a protest in Lahore on September 22, 2013, against the killing of their community members in two suicide bomb attacks on a Church in Peshawar. Photo courtesy Getty Images.]