The jihadist group Jundallah, an affiliate of al-Qaeda and the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan, is among those that has claimed responsibility for Sunday’s attack.
Led, until his killing in a November 1, 2013 drone strike by Hakimullah Mehsud, the organisation has been held responsible for a number of spectacular strikes in the past — among them, the near-successful assassination of pro-establishment Islamist politician Maulana Fazlur Rahman last month.
The terrorist group, whose ranks included 26/11 reconnaissance agent David Headley and is thought to have had contact with elements of the Indian Mujahideen’s leadership, is also accused of the 2013 suicide attack on a Peshawar church which left 127 dead, the killing of foreign hikers at Nanga Parbat in the same year, and several attacks on Pakistan’s minority Shia community.
Sushant Sareen, a Pakistan expert at the Vivekananda International Foundation, noted that the attack came after weeks of claims by the Pakistan army that its operation Zarb-e-Azb had decimated terrorists operating in North Waziristan, and made it impossible for them to launch attacks in Punjab. “I’m guessing this bombing has a pretty simple message,” he said.