- President, CM Shehbaz condemn attack
- Security put on high alert across the province
- TTP reportedly claims responsibility for attack
LAHORE: At least nine persons, including five police personnel and four citizens, were killed and 20 others were injured in a blast near a police post at Raiwind on Wednesday.
Two sub-inspectors and three constables are among the dead while the injured include Raiwind ASP Zubair Nazir and SHO.
Rescue sources said that the injured were rushed to Tehsil Headquarters (THQ) Hospital Raiwind, Sharif Medical City Hospital and General Hospital Lahore, adding that the blast occurred when policemen present at the posting were changing their shift. A motorcycle was destroyed in the blast, while police and law enforcement rushed to the site and began further investigation.
Some of the injured are listed in a critical condition, triggering fears that the death toll might go up.
According to rescue officials, a caller who informed them about the incident said it was a cylinder blast. However, the impact and sound of the blast suggest it was a terrorist attack.
Defunct Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) has reportedly claimed responsibility for the attack.
Deputy Inspector General (DIG) of Police Operations Dr Haider Ashraf said that the attack was carried out against police personnel. The injured include Raiwind assistant superintendent of police (ASP), he said.
The DIG further said that a motorcycle was probably used by terrorists to target a police check-post 600 meters from the Raiwind Tableeghi congregation site. He added that dozens of vehicles were also damaged in the blast.
DIG Haider Ashraf further said that body parts of the suicide bomber were recovered from the explosion site and sent to the forensic lab for further examination. The senior police official stressed that if the suicide attacker had managed to enter the congregation site, the death toll could have been much higher.
The government of Punjab has issued a list of the martyred and the injured.
THQ Hospital #Raiwind has received 6 dead bodies:
1. Amir Afridi from Kohat (private)
2. Tanveer [21725/c] 3. M. Aslam [SI] 4. Saeed [11343/c] 5. Unknown [as of now] 6. Unknown [as of now]
— Govt Of The Punjab (@GovtOfPunjab) March 14, 2018
The martyrs include Muhammad Aslam (SI), Tanvir (SI), Saeed (Constable), Amir Afridi and two unidentified while injured are identified as M Naeem (Cop), Sabir (Cop), Manzoor (Cop), Israr (Cop), Karamat (Cop), Abid Hussain (Cop), Babur Hayat (Cop), Muhammad Farooq (Cop), Muhammad Akram (Cop), M Yaseen, M Saeed, Fareedullah, Zeeshan, Asim Afridi and five unidentified persons.
President, CM condemn attack
President Mamnoon Hussain condemning the terrorist attack, prayed for eternal peace of the martyred police personnel and people.
While expressing sympathies with the bereaved families, the president directed the authorities concerned to provide best medical treatment and every possible assistance to the injured and affected people.
He also said such kinds of cowardly acts could not deter the resolve of the government against the war on terrorism and the Pakistani nation had defeated terrorists after giving numerous sacrifices.
Separately, Punjab Chief Minister Muhammad Shehbaz Sharif strongly condemned the blast and sought a report from Punjab inspector general of police (IGP) and directed him to investigate the matter. The CM expressed a deep sense of sorrow and grief over the loss of precious human lives, directing the administration that best treatment facilities should be provided to the injured police officials and other people.
Chief Minister Punjab @CMShehbaz has strongly condemned the blast in Raiwind and has sought the report from Inspector General Police.
— Govt Of The Punjab (@GovtOfPunjab) March 14, 2018
In another post on Twitter, Shehbaz paid tribute to the martyred policemen and said the nation is proud of their sacrifices.
Brave police officials lay down their lives in the line of duty. The nation is proud of sacrifices that the Punjab police, security officials & our citizens have rendered in the war on terrorism. Prayers for the departed souls & bereaved families who lost their loved ones!
— Shehbaz Sharif (@CMShehbaz) March 14, 2018
Meanwhile, Punjab IGP Captain (r) Arif Nawaz Khan has directed to declare a security high alert in the province and has asked Lahore CCPO and all RPOs and DPOs to strengthen security in their respective regions and districts.
The IGP directed all officers to ensure implementation of all security standard operating procedures (SOPs) released. He also directed the CCPO to ensure that best medical treatment is provided to the personnel and injured officers.
The top officer also directed for further tightening the process of checking and monitoring at the entry and exit routes of the metropolis. He directed that all measures be taken to ensure the safety of the life and property of the masses.
Lahore’s first attack in 2018
This is the first incident of such nature in Lahore this year, however, almost 60 people lost their lives in terrorist attacks in 2017. At least 45 people were injured in an explosion in a fruit truck stationed in a parking lot on Band Road in August last year.
In July 2017, 26 people, including nine policemen, were martyred and 58 others were injured in a suicide hit on Ferozepur Road.
In April, six people including army personnel were killed in a suicide attack on a census team on Bedian Road. On February 13, over two dozen people including two senior police officers were killed in a suicide blast on Mall Road.