55 killed in Pakistan's Lahore suicide blast
Updated: 2014-11-03 10:32
ISLAMABAD - At least 55 people were killed and 118 others injured in a suicide blast that took place near Wagah crossing point at Pak-India border in Pakistan's eastern city of Lahore on Sunday evening, police officials said.
Inspector General of Police (IGP) of eastern Punjab province Mushtaq Ahmad Sukhera said death toll of the attack rose to 55 in three different hospitals of Lahore.
Director General of Punjab Rangers, Tahir Javed Khan, said that the incident took place when a suicide bomber exploded his explosive jacket amid a crowd of over 200 people who were coming back after attending the 'lowering of the flags' ceremony and Rangers parade at the Wagah border crossing point between Pakistan and India.
The flag and parade ceremony that has become tourist favorite is held daily before the sunset and is attended by hundreds of people, including foreigners, from both Pakistani and Indian sides.
According to the DG Rangers, the incident took place at 5:50 pm (local time) outside a restaurant some 500 meters away from the first gate of the venue where the ceremony was held.
Medical Superintendent of the Ghurki Trust Hospital, Khurram Shehzad, said at least 48 bodies and over 70 injured were brought to the hospital.
An officer of the Services Hospital said at least six bodies and 34 injured were admitted to the hospital, while a wounded person succumbed to his injuries in General Hospital of the city.
At least 11 women, seven children and three personnel of Rangers were among the killed people, the hospital sources said.
The hospital sources also said the death toll might further rise as at least 20 people were in critical condition.
Following the incident, emergency was declared in all state-run hospitals in Lahore. All the hospitals also appealed to the public for blood donation for the injured.
At least eight members of a family who came to witness the flag and parade ceremony were also among the killed.
The DG Rangers said at least three personnel of Rangers who were deployed at a nearby check post were killed in the blast.
The funeral prayer of the killed Rangers personnel was offered at the Rangers Headquarter on Sunday night and their bodies were sent to their respective home towns for burial.
Hours after the explosion, a banned militant group name "Jundallah" (Soldiers of God) claimed responsibility for the attack.
The group based in the Pakistan's northwestern tribal regions at the Pak-Afghan border is wanted in connection to a series of terrorist attacks in the country.
The group had claimed responsibility for a twin-suicide-bomb attack that targeted a Christian Church in northwestern provincial capital of Peshawar on 22 Sept 2013, which killed 127 people and left over 250 others injured.
Following the claim by the Jundallah, two other militant groups, namely Jamaat-ul-Ahrar and Pakistan Taliban Hakimullah Mahsood Group, also claimed responsibility for the attack.
According to police officials, a man aged between 18-25 years carrying 10-15 kilogram of explosives containing ball bearings carried out the suicide attack.
The huge explosion that was heard miles away from the site left a big crater on the ground. The blast also damaged the restaurant and a number of vehicles parked nearby.
Police has found the head, legs and other body parts of the suicide bomber and sent them to the forensic laboratory.
Pakistan President Mamnoon Hussain and Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif condemned the attack and instructed the concerned authorities to provide the best possible treatment to the wounded.
Federal Interior Minister Chaudhary Nisar Ali Khan said all the concerned security departments had been informed on Thursday about a possible attack at the Wagah Border Check Point.
Provincial Interior Minister of Punjab, Shuja Khanzada, said the flag and parade ceremony was the target of the bomber, but he attacked the civilians outside after failing to reach the ceremony due to tight security.
Following the intelligence reports, two more check posts were set up on the rout to the parade venue, but suicide bomber succeeded in attacking the civilians, Khanzada said.