I debated whether or not to rise and share with you the unspeakable horrors that have taken place in Pakistan this year. I thought long and hard about whether I should speak in the Chamber once more about death, destruction, loss. But, then I realized that this has been the experience of my people for the past 36 years.
As you know, the city of Lahore was recently the victim of an attack, which killed more than 70 people, Christians and Muslims alike, and left at least 300 people injured. What made this attack particularly deplorable was that it specifically targeted Christian families celebrating Easter, and the majority of victims were women and children.
In response to the attack, we saw the unity of the people of Pakistan. Be they Muslim or Christian, when they heard that blood was needed, citizens arrived at hospitals in such large numbers that many had to be sent home.
In January, the Bacha Khan University in Charsadda was also the victim of a violent attack. This attack targeted students attending a school named for my great grand uncle, the leader of a non-violence movement. I visited the site after the attack, as I was only 20 miles away when it happened. The horror that I saw, the still wet blood on the ground, will stay with me for the rest of my life.
The war on terror began in 2001 with Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan, placing the Pukhtuns, a people who were still rebuilding from the destruction caused by the Soviet invasion in 1979, on the frontlines of a battle that would grip our world for the next 15 years. I salute the continued compassion and resilience of the Pukhtuns, and all the people of Pakistan.
In memory of the victims of the attack in Lahore, the Parliament of Canada lowered its flag to half mast, demonstrating once again, compassion and solidarity with the people of Pakistan. It is my hope, that the next time I rise to speak to you about Pakistan, it will be with joyous news.