1 Dead as Christians, Pakistani Police Clash in Lahore
TEHRAN (Tasnim) - Thousands of Christian protesters in Pakistan clashed with police in the eastern city of Lahore in a riot triggered by recent bombings of the city’s churches by pro-Taliban terrorists, leaving one person dead.
Police resorted to the use of tear gas and water cannon on Monday to disperse the angry protesters after they began to vandalize public property and vehicles and pelting security forces with stones.
The clashes reportedly erupted after security forces attempted to avert confrontation between the city’s Christian and Muslim protesters.
Over a dozen people were reported injured after local police forces fired warning shots to disperse a crowd of nearly 5,000 people.
At least one protester was killed when struck by a vehicle, said Police Deputy Inspector General Haider Ashraf, Press TV reported.
The announcement came after local TV stations aired footage showing a car speeding away from the protest scene while running over several demonstrators who were trying to block its path.
This is while a police spokeswoman was cited in press reports as saying that a female suspect had been arrested in connection with the deadly incident.
At least 17 people were killed and scores more injured in Sunday's twin bombings near two churches in the Christian neighborhood of Youhanabad. Medics say they are expecting the death toll to rise. Pro-Taliban militants in Pakistan claimed responsibility for the attacks.
Also on Monday, Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan condemned the bombings as an "inhuman act of terrorism," insisting that "the noose has been tightening around militants" due to a major anti-Taliban operation.
"They are now hitting the softest targets like churches, mosques and schools. It shows their frustration," said the minister.
Meanwhile, in a statement carried by state media, Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif “condemned the Lahore blasts and directed provincial governments to ensure the security of public and their properties.”
Pro-Taliban militants, who claimed responsibility for the weekend bombings, have been battling government forces for over a decade. Thousands of Pakistanis have lost their lives in the fighting.