LAHORE: At least five people were killed and about two dozens injured in an apparent suicide attack on Lahore’s police headquarters on Tuesday. Banned Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) later claimed responsibility for the attack.
The blast took place opposite the main gate of Police Lines in Lahore’s Qila Gujjar Singh area. According to preliminary reports, it was carried out by a suicide bomber who kept sitting for some time across the road perhaps waiting for some senior official for attack but then exploded his suicide vest.
Huge plumes of smoke were visible in the air in the heavily populated area which was quickly cordoned off by security personnel.
Several vehicles parked near the site of the blast caught fire and window panes in nearby buildings were also shattered.
A police Assistant Sub Inspector (ASI) was among those killed in the attack while the wounded also included a policewoman, according to police sources.
Inspector General Punjab Police Mushtaq Sukhera told media representatives that the target of the attack was police lines but chances are that the bomber exploded himself prematurely after see high security.
He added that, “Ever since operation Zarb-i-Azb began the army has been taking action against militants… and this was perhaps in reaction to that. We will examine CCTV footage to get more details on the attacker.”
He further said that 5-8 kilograms of explosives were used in the blast.
Earlier Khawaja Salman Rafique, the Punjab government’s adviser on health, confirmed that four people had died while 23 others were wounded in the blast. He added that the condition of one injured was reported as critical.
Giving a breakup of the patients, he said that six patients were admitted in MayoHospital, 13 in GangaRamHospital and four others were brought to the ServicesHospital.
Lahore DCO retired Capt Muhammad Usman media that the wounded also included women and a child.
DIG Operations Haider Ashraf said that it appeared that the explosion was a suicide blast. Initial investigation revealed that ball bearings were used in the bomb. Another report said that DIG operations was the target of the bomber.
CapitalCity Police Officer (CCPO) Amin Wains told media persons that the blast was most likely carried out by a suicide bomber.
He added that the target of the attack was the Police Lines but the security measures forced the bomber to detonate his explosives prematurely.
Eye-witnesses said gunshots were heard from inside the Police Lines, however security personnel have said that the shots were only fired by members of the law enforcement agencies after the blast.
Emergency was imposed in hospitals across Lahore and injured were shifted to the Mayo and Ganga Ram hospitals in the provincial capital.
The site of the explosion lies close to the headquarters of Pakistan Railways.
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, President Mamnoon Hussain and Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan have strongly condemned the bomb blast.
Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif also condemned the explosion and sought a report over the incident.
Today’s explosion comes nearly three months after a massive bombing near the Wagah border claimed over 60 lives in Lahore. The bombing at Wagah was followed by the terrorist attack on Peshawar’s ArmyPublic School in December which claimed over 140 lives — with most of the victims being children and students at the institution.