Suicide Blast Rocks Lahore's Mall Road

From India-Today:
A suspected suicide bomber blew himself up on Lahore's Mall Road where people had gathered to protest against the amendments to drug policy in Punjab province.

At least 16 people, including two senior police officers, were killed and nearly 40 were injured when a suicide bomber struck a public demonstration in Pakistan's Lahore city on Monday evening.

DIG (Traffic) Syed Ahmed Mubeen and Senior Superintendent of Police Zahid Gondal were persuading protesters to clear way for traffic when a young man on a motorcycle came near them and triggered an explosion. At least 4 traffic constables were among the dead and among the injured are some mediapersons who were there to cover the protest.

A group of chemists and pharmaceutical manufacturers were protesting against the Paunjab government's new Drug Bill at Charing Cross on Mall Road in Lahore's heart.

The spot was right outside the state Assembly building. The police officers had nearly persuaded the demonstrators to move to the sidewalk and allow the evening traffic to move, when the bomber struck. The powerful explosion shook the entire area and could be heard from as far as 10 km from the spot.

Local reports say Pakistani Taliban's faction Jamaat-ul-Ahrar claimed responsibility for Lahore blast. Reports also say that police had received intelligence (image below) about two suicide bombers had entered the city of Lahore and the city was on alert.

Jamaat ul Ahrar faction of the Pakistani Taliban was also responsible for the deadly Easter attack in Lahore. On 27 March 2016, Easter Sunday, at least 75 people were killed and over 340 were injured in a suicide bombing that hit the main gate of Gulshan-e-Iqbal Park, one of the largest parks in Lahore.

Incidentally, the National Counter Terrorism Authority of Pakistan had issued a notification on February 7 warning probable terror attack in Lahore. The notification emphasised on enhanced vigil and security enforcement in the area.

Jamaat-ul-Ahrar who claimed responsibility for the suicide bombing today have reportedly released the photo of the bomber. The terror outfit has reportedly called the blast 'Operation Ghazi' and its target-list include Pakistani intellectuals, military/intel folks, media and doctors.

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