Prime Minister and President strongly condemn blast on Lahore’s Mall Road

ISLAMABAD: The Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif and President Mamnoon Hussain have strongly condemned terror blast outside Punjab Assembly on Shahrah-e-Quaid-e-Azam on Monday that left 16 persons martyred while dozens of others injured.

According to a statement issued by the Prime Minister House, Nawaz Sharif has condemned the attack in the strongest of terms and urged the nation to not lose heart and continue their resolve over war on terror. He expressed deep sorrow over martyrdom of Chief Traffic Officer, Deputy Inspector General among seven precious lives in the blast.

Both President and Prime Minister said such dastardly acts cannot shake the resolve of the nation, Radio Pakistan reported. The premier has directed to provide best medical facilities to the injured of the blast.

The President House reported that Mamnoon Hussain has condoled deaths of innocent people. In a separate statement, Minister for Interior, Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan has expressed deep sorrow over the loss of lives. He strongly condemned the terror blast. Chairman of the Senate, Raza Rabbani said that cowardly attacks cannot deter resolve of the nation in war on terror.


Bomb kills three soldiers in South Waziristan

WAZIRISTAN: A roadside bomb killed three Pakistani paramilitary soldiers in a restive northwestern tribal area bordering Afghanistan, officials said Monday.

The Improvised Explosive Device went off as the trio were on patrol Sunday on a motorbike in Toikhola village in South Waziristan tribal district. Three FC (Frontier Corps) soldiers were martyred in a bomb blast during a patrol in South Waziristan, a senior security official told AFP, adding that the bomb had been detonated remotely.

The attack came as the powerful army chief of staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa visited the district, the military said, confirming the soldiers had died. South Waziristan is one of the seven semi-autonomous tribal areas where the army has for more than a decade been battling militants linked to the Taliban and Al-Qaeda. The areas are off-limits to journalists and it is impossible to independently verify incidents reported by the military or militant groups.

The army launched an operation in June 2014 in neighbouring North Waziristan to wipe out militant bases in the tribal areas and end an insurgency that has cost thousands of civilian lives since 2004. As a result security has improved. Attacks still take place, but fewer than previously.

Senior police officials among 16 killed in ‘suicide blast’ near Punjab Assembly

LAHORE: At least 16 people, including two senior Police officials, were killed and several injured in a strong bomb blast at the Chairing Cross, Mall Road near Punjab Assembly Building here on Monday.

Rana Sanaullah, the provincial law minister, confirmed that it was a suicide blast, occurred during a protest, which was being staged by drug dealers against the Drug Act introduced by the Punjab Government. Sources said that some 400 people were protesting when the explosion took place. The Geo News report said that DIG Traffic Lahore Captain Ahmed Mubeen and acting DIG Operations Zahid Ikram Gondal, along with three wardons were also martyred in the tragic incident.

A heavy contingent of police reached the site of the incident. Media representatives were also present at the site of protest when the explosion took place. The protesters were dispersed following the blast. The explosion was so powerful that it shattered windows of DSNG vans and police mobiles parked near the affected area.

No group immediately claimed Monday´s explosion, but the same faction of the Pakistani Taliban responsible for the Easter blast recently vowed it would continue carrying out attacks. Social media users were quick to suggest the blast was meant to derail plans to hold the highly-anticipated final of the Pakistan Super League in Lahore. The second year of the Twenty20 tournament is currently being held in the United Arab Emirates out of security fears, but after a military crackdown on extremism officials were confident enough to plan for the final to take place in the cricket-mad city.

NACTA had warned of possible terrorist attack in Lahore


LAHORE: National Counter Terrorism Authority (NACTA) had already warned the provincial authorities of possible terrorist attack in Lahore.

According to a notice sent to Home Secretary Punjab, Provincial Police Officer and DG Pakistan Rangers (Punjab) on February 7, The National Counterterrorism Authority (NACTA) had warned of a possible terrorist attack in Lahore. NACTA had directed that all vital installations, including important buildings, hospitals and schools, be kept under strict vigilance. Punjab Law Minister Rana Sanaullah said that maximum preparations were made after the threat alert was received. The spot where the blast took place is always under threat. Even if there was no alert, strict security measures are always taken in the area. Extreme vigilance and heightened security measures are suggested to avoid any untoward incident,”the notification added.

Today, a powerful bomb went off outside Punjab Assembly in Lahore, killing several people, including senior police officials, and leaving scores of others injured. The death toll is feared to go up as some of those injured are in critical condition.

DIG Traffic Police Captain Ahmed Mubeen and DIG Operations Zahid Ikram Gondal have been killed in the attack. Among the injured are several policemen, women and media persons. A sit-in was being staged by Punjab Medical Stores Association and Chemist and Druggist Association near Faisal Chowk, Mall Road when the blast occurred. The two police officials were negotiating with protestors to end the sit-in and open the road for traffic. Many vehicles parked near the blast site caught fire, triggering panic and chaos in the area. A DSNG of Aaj TV was badly damaged following the blast, injuring their cameraman and driver.