LAHORE: At least 28 people were killed and over 50 others injured in a blast near Arfa Kareem Tower on Ferozpur road here on Monday.
According to Interior Minister Chaudhary Nisar Ali Khan, most of the dead include security personnel. Armed assailants riding a motorbike launched the assault on law enforcers.
Footage of the spot
— Ibrahim Qazi (@miqazi) July 24, 2017
Three motorcycles, a dumper and a car have completely been damaged in the blast.
Talking to ARY News, Spokesperson Punjab Government Malik Ahmed Khan said that the demolition of dilapidated buildings was underway in the area when the blast ripped through.
“The authorities are yet to determine the nature of blast,” he added.
Haider Ashraf, deputy inspector general of Punjab police, said the blast was a suicide attack and “police were the target”.
The old Sabzi Mandi is also situated in the area. The road has been blocked for all kind of traffic movement.
Thirteen injured have been rushed to General Hospital and six others were shifted to Jinnah Hospital. The injured were said to sustain critical wounds.
The rescue and police teams have cordoned off the blast site.
Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa has directed troops to take immediate part in rescue and relief efforts in Lahore.
Director General Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) Major General Asif Ghafoor, in a tweet message said that troops have reached at the site.
COAS shares grief with victim families of Lhr blast. Directs for immediate rescue and relief efforts. Troops reached at site.
— Maj Gen Asif Ghafoor (@OfficialDGISPR) July 24, 2017
PM condemns blast
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has strongly condemned the blast in Lahore. According to the PM House, the premier has directed authorities in the city to ensure the best treatment of the wounded in hospitals.
Provincial Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif, whose secretariat is near to the blast site, has also condemned the attack and vowed to provide the best medical treatment to the injured.
TOO EARLY TO DECLARE SUICIDE ATTACK: RANA SANAULLAH
Talking to media, Punjab Law Minister Rana Sanaullah condemned the Lahore blast near Arfa Karim Tower. However, he refrained from commenting on the incident before an inquiry.
Claiming the security situation in Punjab has improved, the law minister said the rare terror attacks are backed by rival powers in the province.
However, he did not confirm whether the blast was suicide or it was planted.
“The terrorist organizations are carrying out such cowardly attacks with different names as their networks have been significantly weakened due to recent raids conducted by Counter-Terrorism Department (CTD), Punjab Rangers, Police and Intelligence agencies,” he asserted.
Lahore targeted again
In April this year, a suicide attack struck army personnel in Lahore that killed at least six people and wounded 18 in Lahore.
The blast hit an army vehicle taking part in census, killing four soldiers and two civilian bystanders. Similarly on February 13, 2017, an explosion near the Punjab Assembly killed at least 13 people and wounded 83 others.
At least five police officers were among the dead when an explosion rocked a protest organized by Pakistan’s chemists and pharmaceuticals manufacturers.
Scores of people have been killed since the beginning of the year in a series of attacks that have dashed hopes of an end to the violence of recent years and stepped up pressure on PML-N’s government to improve security.