The Taliban faction that claimed responsibility for the deadly attack at the Gulshan-e-Iqbal park in Lahore, when it was packed with families, vowed to keep killing Christians and other religious minorities. However, ten days later, Shama Parveez, who lost her 10-year-old son in the attack, does not have answers to why her only son deserved to die. She spoke to The Daily Vox about her heartache.
“My son was a position holder in school. He was a very intelligent kid,” Shama Parveez, told The Daily Vox.
“He used to tell me that he would fulfill all my dreams and will provide everything I ever wished for. He is dead now”.
Shama lost her husband four years ago of a brain haemorrhage and since then her only hope was her son, Sahil.
Shama works in a non-profit organisation in Lahore as an office assistant and lives with her nine-year-old daughter, Angel, who survived the attack.
“My daughter is still in the hospital, recovering. She is the reason why I am still alive, or else I would have ended my life the day I lost my son.”
The bombing in a crowded park late last month killed at least 73 people and injured more than 320 others. The attack sparked a massive paramilitary crackdown in and around Lahore. However, Shama’s brother Nadeem Khokar, believes that as a Christian minority in Pakistan, their life is still under threat.
“I am too scared to go to church or follow my religion. We say a prayer when we step out of our homes… hoping to return safe to our family,” said Khokar.
The bombing marked Pakistan’s deadliest attack since the December 2014 massacre of more than 130 schoolchildren at the Army Public School in the city of Peshawar.
“No religion will teach you to kill people. I don’t know what religion they [militants] are following,” Khokar said. “I just cannot see my sister suffering after the loss of her son. She is shattered and I doubt she will recover from this pain,” he continued.
The attack has left many people terrified, especially families like Shama’s that hail from the poorest parts of Punjab where spending time with their families and enjoying a picnic in a park is usually their only chance for leisure.
The park has now become a reminder of danger and threat in the country.
“I use to see kids laughing and running around, so happy!” said Khalid, who worked at the park. “This park is now a reminder of tears, blood and sadness. I will never go back to work in that park again.”
Khokar says if places like parks and schools are attacked, the government is “not doing enough to fight the terrorists”.
“Our government has failed to provide security to us. I don’t care about their so-called crackdowns, because they promised the same after the Peshawar school massacre.”
Now Shama wants to spend most of her time at work or with her brother. She said everything at home reminds her of Sahil.
“I had a lot of dreams for my son, he was my only hope, but now he is gone and so are my dreams for him,” breaking down in tears, she said.
“Did my son really deserve to die? I still wonder.”