On Wednesday morning, 4 security personnel and 2 government officials were killed and 22 others were injured in a suicide attack on a convoy of census teams on Lahore’s Bedian road.
The Pakistani Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack. Muhammad Khurassani, a spokesperson for Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), a banned Islamist movement often called the Pakistani Taliban, issued a statement claiming responsibility.
Pakistan is conducting its first population census since 1998 and the blast reportedly targeted the census team. The explosion rocked the area at 7.45 a.m.
“It can safely be assumed that this census team and the security personnel with it were the target of the suicide bomber all along,” Punjab government spokesperson Malik Ahmad Khan said.
Though the details of the attacker were not immediately confirmed but a source confided that the bomber chased the van along with the facilitator and blew him up when reached close to the soldiers. Experts are yet to determine the amount of explosive material used in the attack.
“This was a suicide blast, however, the amount of explosives used has yet to be determined,” Khan said.
Photos from the scene of the attack showed two vans and a motorcycle which were damaged by the explosion. The forensic teams are collecting the evidence from the crime scene and the head of the suspected suicide bomber has also been found.
“The chief minister has called an emergency meeting of all security personnel. The Inspector General Police and provincial intelligence representatives will be part of the meeting,” said the provincial government spokesperson.
Rescue efforts are underway and security cordon has been put in place around the area. The injured have been admitted to the General Hospital and The Combined Military Hospital in Lahore.
Attackers behind the Bedian Road attack will not be left to go unpunished, said Corps Commander Lieutenant General Sadiq Ali during his visit to Combined Military Hospital. He was at the hospital to enquire after the health of people injured in the blast. “The indiscriminate operation against terrorists will continue.”
Meanwhile, Pakistan’s Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif has strongly condemned the incident and has directed the authorities to provide best medical facilities to the injured.
This is the second attack in Lahore in less than two months. At least ten people were killed when a blast ripped through an upmarket area of Lahore in February.