Lahore: At least eight people were killed and several others were injured in an explosion that took place near the Police Lines in Lahore on Tuesday, hospital sources told Dawn.
The explosion took place near the main gate of Police Lines in Lahore’s Qila Gujjar Singh area and according to preliminary reports, it took place in a vehicle parked in the area.
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.
DIG Operations Haider Ashraf told Dawn that it appeared that the explosion was a suicide blast. Initial investigation revealed that ball bearings were used in the bomb.
Capital City 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 being shifted to the Mayo and Ganga Ram hospitals in the provincial capital.
The site of the explosion lies close to the headquarter of Pakistan Railways.
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 Army Public School in December which claimed over 140 lives — with most of the victims being children and students at the institution.
The Dec 16 attack resulted in the formulation of a National Action Plan to counter terrorism which also saw a parliamentary consensus on the formation of military courts in the country as well as renewed resolve to counter religious extremism by cracking down on terror financing and regulating madrassahs. The government also rolled back the moratorium on capital punishmentfollowing which a number of convicted terrorists have been hanged in jails across the country.
Since the government set the NAP rolling, the country has seen a number of terrorist attacks — the major ones being attacks on imambargahs in Rawalpindi, Shikarpur and Peshawar.