Source: Pix 11
It may seem as though they are worlds apart. One is a U.S. Representative for the state of New York and the other is Pakistan’s Ambassador and permanent representative to the United Nations. The two, however are connected as neighbors and as friends.
After the tragic bombing in Lahore, Pakistan targeting Christians on Easter at a public park, Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney brought Ambassador Maleeha Lodhi flowers, a gesture of solidarity between their two countries.
“I know our president has made a statement. I know our state department is, but we as individuals here in New York can make our own personal statement, so that’s what I’m doing today,” said Maloney.
Seventy-two people were killed, mostly women and children. Hundreds more were injured. At the Mission of Pakistan on the Upper East Side, the two friends stood side by side, in unity against terror, addressing a room of Pakistani Americans and members of the press.
“I think the important thing when terrorists strike is to show the world that we are together and that there is solidarity and there is international solidarity,” said Ambassador Lodhi.
Ameena Zia is a Pakistani American whose family happens to be from Lahore.
She said she was among the many stunned at this latest terror attack, particularly because Lahore is a city known in Pakistan and beyond as being one of inter-faith and inter-cultural acceptance.
“I think we still need to focus on the fact that it was in fact targeted. It was on Easter, where the majority of the population was supposed to be the Christian population,” said Zia.
“We come from Pakistan. It hurts. It hurts a lot when you see your own people getting killed, especially when it comes to children and women,” said Zahid Mahmood, a Brooklyn Pakistani American, who is also a Sergeant with the NYPD.
As the death toll mounts, Ambassador Lodhi said the Pakistani government is aggressively going after the attackers, and know exactly who they are.
In the meantime, Zia and others in the community hope gestures of solidarity continue in an equal fashion for all victims of terror. Today, many in this room pointed at an unbalanced and at times unequal coverage of Lahore’s terror versus that of Brussels and Paris.
“When something happens in the heart of Europe, that gets greater coverage because the Western press tends to focus on itself and when something happens of a much greater magnitude in Turkey or Pakistan, obviously the coverage is much less. That’s something for the Western media to really think about. They need to reflect on why they do this. It means that people in Pakistan feel that our tragedy should also be given the same kind of sympathy and solidarity that tragedies in the West,” said Lodhi.