LAHORE: At least nine people, including five policemen, were killed and 20 others injured in a suicide attack on a police check-post set up near a religious gathering in Raiwind on Wednesday.
The suicide bomber blew himself up at the Nisar Police check-post near the Tableeghi Markaz after a cop tried to stop him from entering the venue where a bi-annual congregation was under way.
“It was at around 9:20pm when a teenage boy approached the police personnel. When a policeman tried to stop him, he blew himself up injuring all of the 12 police personnel present there,” DIG Operations Dr Haider Ashraf told Dawn, adding that five of those cops, including two sub-inspectors, later succumbed to their injuries. He said that four civilians had also lost their lives in the attack, while the condition of some of those injured, being treated at various hospitals, is said to be critical. Those injured include an assistant superintendent of police (ASP) and two station house officers.
Dr Ashraf was of the view that the attacker had wanted to target the check-post set up to provide security to hundreds of the faithful who came from all over the country to attend the event.
TTP claims responsibility for blast near Tableeghi Markaz congregation
According to Rescue-1122 officials, the attack took place a few kilometres from the residence of former prime minister Nawaz Sharif.
They said that rescue ambulances took the injured to the Tehsil Headquarters Hospital at Raiwind and the Sharif Medical Hospital where the condition of five of them was stated to be serious.
An injured constable, Abid Hussain, told journalists that he had been deputed at the entry point of the check-post to frisk those passing through the area.
“I saw a young boy who was trying to enter [the venue] and as soon as my colleague stopped him, I heard a powerful blast,” Mr Hussain said, adding that he had lost consciousness after that and came to later at a hospital.
According to people who had witnessed the attack, a massive fireball was seen at the check-post. Pakistan Rangers quick response force arrived at the spot and cordoned off the area. However, no militant group has claimed responsibility for the blast so far.
Following the tragic incident, senior police officers, including Punjab IGP Capt (retired) Arif Nawaz and Capital City Police Officer Amin Wains, visited the site.