At least two killed, 26 injured in blast in Lahore's Anarkali Bazaar

January 20, 2022

Of the two people who died, one was a young man from Ferozewala and the other a child, who was a resident of Karachi

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Burnt motorcycles are seen in Anarkali Bazaar, Lahore, where an explosion occurred, on January 20, 2022. — Twitter

LAHORE: A blast in Lahore's New Anarkali Bazaar area on Thursday left at least two people dead and 26 others injured, police and health officials said.

Deputy Commissioner Lahore Umar Sher Chattha said that the location falls under the Safe City project and all the available evidence from the surveillance system is being analysed.

Initial findings presented to CM Punjab

An initial report presented by the Inspector General of Police to Chief Minister Punjab Usman Buzdar said that a "planted device" was used in the blast and that it contained 1.5kg of explosive material.

The blast shattered windows of nearby buildings while several motorcycles, parked near the blast site, caught fire. The report said that one building and eight motorcycles were damaged in the explosion.

According to the report, the blast occurred at 1:40pm. A call from an unknown individual was received at 1:44pm alerting the authorities of an explosion in New Anarkali Bazaar.

A few people have been arrested for their suspected involvement in the blast, the report said.

Casualties

Speaking to the media from Mayo Hospital where the injured were taken, Minister for Health Punjab Yasmin Rashid said that the facility received 26 injured people — four of whom are in surgery.

According to Mayo Hospital officials, of the two people who died, one was a young man, Ramzan, from Ferozewala and the other a child, Absar, who was a resident of Karachi.

'Despicable move to sabotage atmosphere of peace'

Buzdar termed the incident a "despicable move" with a view to "sabotage the peaceful atmosphere" of the city.

He said the culprits "will not be able to escape the law".

"The government shares in the sorrow of the families whose loved ones died or are injured," he said, adding that he has instructed the authorities to ensure the best possible medical assistance to those wounded in the blast.

Families of deceased speak to media

Ramzan's brother, while speaking to the media at Mayo Hospital, said that the family resides in Muridke and that his brother had come to work after a holiday. He said Ramzan used to work for a mithhai (sweetmeat) business.

Ramzan, who was said by his brother to have been 30 years old, leaves behind a daughter aged four.

Absar's maternal uncle also spoke to the media at the hospital. He said that the family was staying at a hotel near the Anarkali Bazaar area. "We had come to show the kids around Anarkali Bazaar when suddenly the explosion occurred," said the uncle.

"We had booked return tickets for Karachi for this evening. Now we won't go to Karachi. We will go to Muzaffarabad," he said.

The bodies of both Ramzan and Absar have been taken to the mortuary for an autopsy report.

'Threat of terrorism'

Federal Minister for Interior Sheikh Rasheed told Geo News that there was a "threat of terrorism".

"I am going [to the area] and will collect more information; once I have more updates, I will let [people] know."

Meanwhile, Lahore deputy inspector-general of operations, Dr Muhammad Abid Khan, had said that no security alert had been issued.

The interior minister, shedding light on other issues, told journalists that the ceasefire between the government and the banned outfit Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) has come to an end, adding that a red alert has been issued for five other major cities across Pakistan.

PM summons report

Prime Minister Imran Khan condemned the incident and said that precious lives had been lost due to the blast. He instructed the authorities to provide immediate medical assistance to the injured.

The premier also asked the Punjab government to submit a report on the blast.

President, politicians express sorrow

President Dr Arif Alvi extended his condolences to the victims of the Lahore blast and prayed for the speedy recovery of the injured.

Meanwhile, Opposition Leader in the National Assembly Shahbaz Sharif said the blast at the historic market was "upsetting", as poor people and innocent children lost their lives, while scores were injured as a result of the explosion.

"Terrorism in Lahore after Islamabad is not a good omen for the country," he said.

Responding to the incident, PML-N Vice-President Maryam Nawaz said a blast taking occurring at an extremely crowding place was concerning.

"May Allah have mercy on the families and Pakistan," she said.

JUI chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman extended his condolences to the families of those killed in the blast but blamed the government for the incident.

“The incident seems to be a conspiracy towards making the country unstable again. The federal and provincial governments have failed to stop these incidents from happening and maintain law and order to ensure the safety of the citizens,” he said.




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