Lahore blast: Taliban faction claims responsibility, over 72 killed

An emergency has been declared at all government hospitals in the city, and a heavy contingent of police has cordoned off the area.

By: Agencies | Lahore | Updated: March 28, 2016 6:35 pm
lahore, pakistan, pakistan blast, lahore blast, pakistan blast, pak Gulshan Iqbal Park, pakistan explosion, pakistan news, world news, latest news Security officials gather at the site of a suicide blast outside Gulshan-e-Iqbal park in Lahore, Pakistan, March 27, 2016. (Reuters)

A suicide bomber killed at least 72 people, mostly women and children, at a park in Lahore on Sunday in an attack claimed by a Pakistani Taliban faction which said it had targeted Christians. More than 300 other people were wounded, officials said.

The chief minister of Punjab province, Shahbaz Sharif, announced three days mourning and pledged to ensure that those involved in the attack are brought to trial.

Senior police officer Haider Ashraf says the explosion took place close to the children’s rides in Gulshan-e-Iqbal park. He says the explosion appeared to have been a suicide bombing, but investigations were ongoing. The area was crowded with Christians celebrating the Easter holidays, he said.

The Taliban faction Jamaat-ul-Ahrar claimed responsibility for the attack. “The target was Christians,” a spokesman for the faction, Ehsanullah Ehsan, said. “We want to send this message to Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif that we have entered Lahore. He can do what he wants but he won’t be able to stop us. Our suicide bombers will continue these attacks.”

In Pictures | Deadly blast in crowded Lahore park kills over 60

“It is suspected that a suicide bomber blew himself up at the main gate of the park,” Deputy Inspector General Lahore Police Haider Asharaf said. He said about 8-10 kilogrammes of explosive might have been used in the blast.

District Coordination Officer Lahore retired Capt Muhammad Usman said: “At least 56 people have been killed and over 126 injured in the blast.”

He, however, ruled out that Christians were the target of the attack. “It was not a Christian park. Christians may be among the dead.”

Punjab minister Bilal Yasin said over 200 people have been injured in the blast. “The death toll may rise as a number of injured are in critical condition,” he said.

lahore, pakistan, pakistan blast, lahore blast, pakistan blast, pak Gulshan Iqbal Park, pakistan explosion, pakistan news, world news, latest news Men mourn the death of their relatives after a blast outside a public park in Lahore, Pakistan, March 27, 2016. (Source: Reuters)

An official of the Punjab police told reporters that the suicide bomber – believed to be in his 20s – managed to enter the park and blew himself up near the swings. “It appears that the suicide bomber’s main target were children,” he said.

The park is located in a posh-locality in Lahore – a comparatively peaceful city in an otherwise violence-wrecked Pakistan which is also the hometown of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.

The army has joined rescue officials to shift the injured to hospitals. An emergency has been declared in city hospitals and appeals have been made to people to donate blood.

“We must bring the killers of our innocent brothers, sisters and children to justice and will never allow these savage inhumans to over-run our life and liberty,” military spokesman  Asim Bajwa said in a post on Twitter.

Eyewitnesses said there were scattered body parts all around the park, where a large number of families, especially women and children, were present on a Sunday evening. The crowd was “unusually large” because of Easter.

“My two children were taking swings when a powerful blast occurred. Me and the children fell on the ground. I was semi-unconscious. When I fully regained consciousness I ran to find my children,” Saleem Shahid, one of the injured in the blast, said at a city hospital where he was being treated.

His children sustained injuries in the blast. “Thank God! They were alive having injuries on their head. I tore my shirt and made a bandage of it,” Shahid said.

Police tried to evacuate the park but people looking for their kins refused to leave the place. “Still a good number of people are in critical condition,” Emergency Services Rescue spokesperson Deeba Shahnaz said.

Punjab government has announced a three-day mourning in the province. Several leaders, including Prime Minister Sharif and Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf chief Imran Khan, have condemned the blast. Christians leaders also strongly condemned the attack.

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  1. N
    Nawaz.Shariff
    Mar 27, 2016 at 5:12 pm
    why Modi was not there in the park?
    Reply
    1. Y
      You
      Mar 27, 2016 at 6:04 pm
      Shame on you for not waking up after n number of attacks and still opposing ppl who wish to end this barbarism.
      Reply
      1. A
        Akram
        Mar 27, 2016 at 6:10 pm
        This country will implode it self and it is already in auto distruct mode.they will never realise there folly untill it is too late.by the way khanayya.and the other jnu campus crowd must be airlifted and thrown in side our neighbour country
        Reply
        1. S
          Sharuk
          Mar 27, 2016 at 6:45 pm
          Clearly muslims are always victimized. We need a separate country. Lets break india into hyberabad, kerala, kashmir. Yes brother? Hyderabad Ammi ki jai!!! Peace frm Owaisi
          Reply
          1. S
            Sharuk
            Mar 27, 2016 at 6:50 pm
            Clearly muslims are always victimized. We need a separate country. Lets break india into hyberabad, kerala, kashmir. Yes brother? Hyderabad Ammi ki jai!!! Peace frm Owaisi
            Reply
            1. S
              Sharuk
              Mar 27, 2016 at 6:50 pm
              Clearly muslims are always victimized. We need a separate country. Lets break india into hyberabad, kerala, kashmir. Yes brother? Hyderabad Ammi ki jai!!! Peace frm Owaisi
              Reply
              1. S
                Sharuk
                Mar 27, 2016 at 6:51 pm
                Clearly muslims are always victimized. We need a separate country. Lets break india into hyberabad, kerala, kashmir. Yes brother? Hyderabad Ammi ki jai!!! Peace frm Owaisi
                Reply
                1. S
                  Sharuk
                  Mar 27, 2016 at 6:43 pm
                  Forget tht, we have bigger fish ti fry.. RSS attacking us. They askin us to say jai to their mata. N its a durga mata . How can we muslims praise anyones mother except muslim mother. Lets fight with india.
                  Reply
                  1. S
                    Sharuk
                    Mar 27, 2016 at 6:36 pm
                    Lets do the same dance again, no worries. Those terrorists are not muslims. We condemn them. Islam is religion of peace. Barkha RSS goons are attacking us. How can u ban beef when there id so much poverty in india. Hinduz are expoiting dalits. We will not chant mata jai n that silly patriotic stuff. See.. all fine. Everyone go home now.
                    Reply
                    1. S
                      Sharuk
                      Mar 27, 2016 at 6:37 pm
                      Lets do the same dance again, no worries. Those terrorists are not muslims. We condemn them. Islam is religion of peace. Barkha RSS goons are attacking us. How can u ban beef when there id so much poverty in india. Hinduz are expoiting dalits. We will not chant mata jai n that silly patriotic stuff. See.. all fine. Everyone go home now.
                      Reply
                      1. L
                        Lolze
                        Mar 27, 2016 at 5:35 pm
                        Will stan wake up now and stop supporting terrorism? Their pet terrorists are killing their own children and ladies!! Owaisi, JNU Nivedita Menon, is this stan you want our kashmir to be part of?
                        Reply
                        1. I
                          IndianWellWisher
                          Mar 27, 2016 at 8:07 pm
                          I sympathize with the innocent victims in stan. But the perpetrators are, a long list - Jinnah, Muslim league ... from the past and Muslims in India who support this, the pseudo intellectuals, left, Naty Khan et al, Jnu et allt;br/gt;Boycott Islam socially, economically before they nuke this world and then and only then will the world have any hope
                          Reply
                          1. I
                            IndianWellWisher
                            Mar 27, 2016 at 8:18 pm
                            USA, shall we say another 500 mm in aid for stan to fight terrorism ? Learn now at least, children, Christians were targets and isi and military have always had blood on their hands
                            Reply
                            1. M
                              MyTake
                              Mar 28, 2016 at 6:30 am
                              What happened to Indian seculars, Kanayias and Rahuls? If they can show there love for Parliament attackers, surely they can say something here!
                              Reply
                              1. M
                                MyTake
                                Mar 27, 2016 at 6:41 pm
                                Ban the book they Jehadis take inspiration from if you really want to survive. The book in questions shortcuits one's brain leaving it for exposition to take place with a low ignition point (like many substances in nature)! May be the brain also produces that low ignition point substance asking for its very much "natural" consequences to "happen"! Second, take measures to curb productions of demographic b o m b s - this can also boomerang for lack of targets!
                                Reply
                                1. M
                                  MyTake
                                  Mar 27, 2016 at 7:02 pm
                                  Demographic b o m d to human b o m b - Islamic innovation and "gift" of "peace" to the world!
                                  Reply
                                  1. M
                                    MyTake
                                    Mar 27, 2016 at 10:05 pm
                                    No one need to look after or do something special to grow weeds in a garden!
                                    Reply
                                    1. M
                                      MyTake
                                      Mar 27, 2016 at 6:46 pm
                                      Result of playing "holly" with blood! Have you seen what kind of "holly" is pla during ID festivals with lives of innocent animals meant for k u r b a n i and how even children are encouraged to take active part in the holly"? What you think these children grow up with?
                                      Reply
                                      1. M
                                        MyTake
                                        Mar 27, 2016 at 9:53 pm
                                        The apologist Islamists should be asked the question how much more blood their blood thirsty God desire. No one in history of Gods has caused so much blood spill! If He is a God and thirsty of blood can't He just make and drink it himself without causing trouble to the people? If He can't do it Himslef why bother calling Him God?
                                        Reply
                                        1. M
                                          MyTake
                                          Mar 27, 2016 at 10:01 pm
                                          These creatures don't like music nor do they like art or culture! No wonder they are the zombies among the created beings - the blood thirsty creatures who once was used by Islam for its very expansion and now coming back to haunt them to the graves! Another example of "every action has an equal and opposite reaction" for living beings without calling it the affect of law of Karma!
                                          Reply
                                          1. V
                                            Vikrant
                                            Mar 28, 2016 at 3:00 am
                                            Religion of peace .... commies intellectuals of this country will find some reason to justify this act too or just keep quite. Maybe they will pick up some issue in one Indian village and start going around the world to say Hindus and India are intolerant
                                            Reply
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