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OSRx Guide 3: Using OSRx to interpret the Lahore attack

On March 27th a massive suicide bombing in Pakistan killed at least 70 people - mostly women and children - and wounded hundreds more. The Taliban has claimed responsibility for the attack, which occurred in a busy park in Lahore where Christians were gathered on Easter Sunday. Although the bomb targeted Christians, most of those killed were Muslims who were also in the park during the attack. 

For the PeaceTech Lab, this attack hit close to home. Just hours prior, the Lab, in partnership with the Technology for People Initiative, concluded a PeaceTech Exchange workshop. Participants had spent the past three days exchanging ideas and solutions for applying technology effectively to  peacebuilding programs in Pakistan, including promotion of narratives of tolerance online and tools for communication and data analysis. For the PeaceTech Lab and its partners, the event served as a reminder of the importance of the courageous work being done by peacebuilding organizations in Pakistan, and the urgent need to support their efforts to counter extremism.



While you may have not been on the ground in Lahore, you can still you use OSRx to find out what happened, and to place this event in context of broader trends in the country: 



To explore the background and aftermath of the Lahore terrorist attack, click “By Country” at the top of the OSRx home page, and select Pakistan from either the world map or list of countries. Next, scroll down to explore the following information on the real-time events map:


  • GDELT (Global Database of Events, Language, and Tone)

The GDELT map provides a visual analysis of news reports about violent events and protests for the past 7 days. Using the example of Pakistan, articles referencing protests and violence against civilians are represented by the red and yellow dots on the maps in the location they occurred. Clicking the different dots will show you a list of hyperlinked news articles that provide more context about specific events. 

The map below shows the real-time events and protests in Pakistan for March 30 - April 6, 2016. 



  • ACLED (Armed Conflict Location and Events Database)

The ACLED map provides a visual analysis capturing political violence data, including the specific dates and locations of the political violence, the types of events, the groups involved, facilities, and challenges in territorial control for the past seven weeks. 

The map belows shows the location and details of the Lahore terrorist attack (by clicking the large dot around Lahore) classified as ‘violence against civilians’ in the date range of March 24, 2016 - March 30, 2016. 


  • News Analytics Timeline

This is a live-updated timeline depicting an “instability” measure or average tone for news coverage at the national level displayed in a day-level view over the last 180 days. 

The higher the line, the more unstable the country is according to global news coverage.

In the timeline below, we see that “instability” news coverage started to rise on March 27 when the attacks occurred and steadily increased until March 29 when there was a sharp decline in instability news coverage:



  • News Analytics Word Cloud

This word cloud is updated in real-time, and depicts the top themes of news media coverage related to conflict and violence. 

The following map shows the real-time word cloud of news coverage as of March 30, 2016 showing the frequent sue of the words “Terror,” “Conflict and violence” and “kill:”



  • Violence and Instability in Social Media - Word Cloud

This world cloud displays the top themes of social media conversations over the past day, week, month or year. You can also capture the social media conversations from different regions.

The following map displays the top themes from social media worldwide for the past week showing that “killed,” “army,” “police,” “military” and “attack” were the top words used, with the hashtag #LahoreBlast arising as a secondary trend in conversation. By opening the link to Twitter Search found in the text below these visualizations, users can execute a query to view conversation related to “#LahoreBlast” even without a Twitter account:



  • Violence and Instability in Social Media – Volume Timeline

This graph displays a time series of the volume of social media conversation surrounding violence and instability emerging from the country.

The timeline below shows a steep increase in social media volume on March 27, 2016, the day of the attacks, followed by a decline:



  • Political Stability and Governance Timeline

This map displays a timeline of indicators of political stability, regime type, government effectiveness and forecasts political violence and governance for the country.

As shown here, political stability and governance have been on a steady decline in Pakistan until 2011, where there was a slight uptick:








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