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Lahore: Bomb blast leaves 3 dead, police harass Pashtun and Baloch students under the garb of investigation

In the aftermath of the attack, the Punjab police resorted to harassing students belonging to ethnic minority groups such as Pashtuns and Balochis.

On Thursday (January 20), a massive explosion took place at the Anarkali market in Lahore city in Punjab province of Pakistan. As per reports, the bomb blast was carried out by Baloch Nationalist Army (BNA). During the attack, about 33 people were injured while 3 people succumbed to their injuries. The explosion damaged the window panes of adjacent buildings and created a deep crater on the road.

Although the police initially believed that it was caused by an explosion of a gas cylinder, it was later confirmed that the blast was caused by a bomb. Besides the Baloch National Army (an amalgamation of the United Baloch Army and Balochistan Republican Army), Tehreek-i-Taliban had also claimed responsibility for the attack.

Several videos, captured in the aftermath of the incident, have been doing the rounds of the internet. Journalist Aown Muhammad Shah tweeted, “6 attacks in last 48 hours across the country and now Lahore. Thoughts and Prayers for our dear homeland.”

Another video footage shows an elderly man, bleeding from his leg.

A CCTV footage of the incident has also come to light.

A First Information Report (FIR) was registered against unidentified individuals by the Punjab Counter-Terrorism Department (CTD) on charges of murder, attempted murder and terrorism, based on a complaint filed by Lahore SHO Abid Baig.

The victims were identified as Ramzan (31), Yasir (19) and Absar Ahmad (9). According to Ramzan’s brother, the victim ran a sweetmeat shop and died on the spot after the explosion took place in his vicionity. The 9-year-old Ahmad, a resident of Karachi, was on a tour to Lahore with his family. He and his family had gone to visit the Anarkali Bazaar when the incident took place.

While speaking about the incident, an injured man named Haider Sultan stated, “Though I received minor wounds on my leg, some moving scenes at the blast site terrified me.”

One Muhammad Wahid, who sustained injuries during the attack, said, “When the blast occurred, I felt as if a powerful storm dragged me out on the road as I lost control over my body due to the intensity.”

Police initiates probe, identifies suspect in Lahore blast

Preliminary investigation suggests that the attack was carried out using a time-device bomb. The same modus operandi was employed during a blast carried out in July 2013, which killed 5 people and injured 12 others.

According to DIG (Operations) Muhammad Abid Khan, the bomb was kept on a motorbike or under a cart that was found damaged at the site of the blast. The incident has been dubbed a terror attack. An investigation is underway to determine whether an Improvised Explosive Device (IED) was used during the attack.

The cops have begun analysing the CCTV footage, which showed a suspect planting explosives at Paan Mandi. A high alert has been enforced across the Punjab province and police patrolling have been intensified.

As per a report in The Pakistan Daily, an attacker has been identified by the Lahore police. So far, 6 suspects have been detained in the Lahore blast case. Reportedly, two people were involved in surveying the area of the attack. The attacker was in contact with the suspect and had met him at some distance from the site of the blast.

Punjab police harass Baloch, Pashtun students after Lahore bomb blast

In the aftermath of the attack, the Punjab police resorted to harassing students belonging to ethnic minority groups such as Pashtuns and Balochis .

Student activist Muhammad Ali Aftab informed, “After the Anarkali blast, the Lahore administration searched the rooms of Baloch and Pashtun students in Punjab University hostels at 2 pm. It is very shameful to harass students like this instead of terrorist organizations.”

Earlier on December 18 last year, an explosion occurred at a bank branch in Karachi’s Shershah area which killed more than a dozen people and left several others injured. The bank branch damaged by the explosion belonged to Habib Bank Limited which was also the Pakistan’s largest lender. According to a senior police officer, the blast could have been caused by a gas leak as the bank was constructed over a drain. However, the police in Pakistan are trying to determine the actual cause of the explosion.

Ayodhra Ram Mandir special coverage by OpIndia

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OpIndia Staff
OpIndia Staff
Staff reporter at OpIndia

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