A twin suicide attack that killed 42 people at Pakistan's most popular Sufi shrine has angered and frustrated Pakistanis, with some saying the solution to the country's terror threat is a US exit from Afghanistan.
Most of some two dozen Pakistanis interviewed said that even if Islamist extremists were behind the slaughter at the Data Darbar shrine in Lahore, the root cause of the violence was America's war in Afghanistan, its missile strikes in Pakistan's tribal regions, and its alliance with Islamabad.
The sentiments underscored the low standing of the US in Pakistan.
The wariness of the US was all the more remarkable considering yesterday's attack was a direct assault on the moderate, Sufi-influenced Islam most Pakistanis still practise, and which the Taliban and allied Islamist extremists despise.
“America is killing Muslims in Afghanistan and in our tribal areas, and militants are attacking Pakistan to express anger against the government for supporting America,” said Zahid Umar (25).
Thousands had gathered at the green-domed shrine when the bombs went off minutes apart. The blasts ripped concrete from the walls and left the white marble floor awash with blood.
Pakistani officials condemned Thursday’s bombings.