South Asia

Suicide bomb in Pakistan kills 26 including a Christian

At least 26 have been killed and 54 injured in the suicide bomb attack at Kot Lakhpat, Lahore in eastern Pakistan.

The attack took place at 4:30 in the evening of 24 July 2017. The Pakistan Taliban, also known as Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan, claimed responsibility for the bombing, calling it a suicide attack according to Reuters.

A Christian named Ilyas Masih is said to have been killed in the attack along with nine police officers and several bystanders who were wounded by the impact of the powerful blast.

British Pakistani Christian Association claims to have sent their staff to the affected area to help in the situation, where they discovered that a Christian man named Ilyas Masih was amongst the slain and we intend to meet with his family to see what help we can offer, they reported.

The injured were immediately rushed to hospitals.

The police suspect that a suicide bomber on a motorcycle targeted officers guarding a demolition site at Kot Lakhpat’s vegetable market.

Haider Ashraf, Lahore police operations chief told Reuters, “We suspect that he (the suicide bomber) came on a motorcycle and he rammed it into a police checkpoint.”

The bomb exploded near the Arfa Karim IT Tower on Lahore’s Ferozepur Road, which is one of the most secure parts of the city. In fact, Chief Minister of Punjab, Shahbaz Sharif’s office is only a few hundred metres away from the detonation site.

“No words can express the grief which grips my heart right now. Blast destroyed many families, but terrorists can never destroy our resolve,” Punjabi province chief minister Shehbaz Sharif tweeted.

Wilson Chowdhry, Chairman of the British Pakistani Christian Association said, “Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their families. We will offer whatever support and assistance we can to all affected by this latest bomb blast.

“In recent bomb attacks Tehreek-e-Taliban-Pakistan under the guise of Jamaat-ul-Ahrar have illustrated a resolve of repeatedly targeting the police and other security personnel. Ostensibly they have moved away from targeting minorities which has more public support in an increasingly extremist nation.

“The incident also raises possibilities of renewed targeting of public congregations in which Lahore may become a favoured focal point for future terrorist attacks. This is extremely worrying as Lahore is regarded as a strong base of support for current Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and political party Pakistan Muslim League (N).”

Lahore has seen many terror attacks in recent years with a suicide bomb attack killing 16 police personnel’s earlier this year while another killed over 70 people during Easter last year and injured 360.

A suicide attack on an army census team in April killed eight people and injured 24 in Lahore.