Lahore: Three top police officers were among 16 people killed today when a suicide bomber blew himself up targeting them during a protest rally outside Pakistan’s Punjab assembly here that also left 60 others injured.
Lahore Traffic Police chief capt (R) Ahmed Mobeen, Senior Superintendent Police Zahid Gondal and DSP Pervez Butt were killed in the blast, multiple media reports said.
Lahore police chief Amin Wains confirmed death of Mobeen. He, however, did not confirm about other casualties. “I can confirm the death of Mr Ahmed Mobeen at the moment,” he said.
At least 16 people were killed in the powerful blast that ripped through the protest rally, police officials said.
Punjab Health Minister Khawaja Salman Rafique said more than 60 people suffered injuries. The condition of some 11 injured is stated to be critical, the minister said.
DIG Mobeen had survived an attempt to his life during his posting in Balochistan.
A Lahore police officer told PTI that apparently it was a suicide attack and the bomber targeted the police personnel present there. “The target was not the protest demonstration but the police officers,” he added.
The blast occurred minutes after Mobeen arrived at the scene to negotiate with the chemists and pharmaceutical manufacturers who had been protesting outside the assembly.
A TV footage shows that a motorcyclist dragging his bike close to police officers and blew himself up. Mobeen is seen in the footage negotiating with the protesters.
Punjab Law Minister Rana Sanullah confirmed that it was suicide blast and ‘some police officers’ have been killed.
He said the agencies had issued a threat alert that terrorists might target Punjab Assembly building and Governor’s House on the Mall Road.
“We have provided security to these venues. Had no demonstration taken place outside the PA building this incident might not have taken place,” he said.
The blast was so powerful that it was heard several kilometers from the?place of occurrence.
“The chemists were protesting against the controversial drug regulations the government has recently imposed. Several protesters were lying on the road before the rescuers shifted them,” said Ishtiaq Ahmed, a representative of the Lahore Chemist Association.