A powerful blast in the middle of the city killed 11 and wounded several others on Monday. The incident occurred at the place of a protest, officials said.
The explosion went off in Lahore’s busy Mall Road during a rally wich was being conducted by hundreds of pharmacists protesting against a new government law outside the provincial assembly building.
Jamaat-ur-Ahrar, a Pakistani Taliban-linked armed group, claimed responsibility for the attack, which killed 11 so far and wounded at least 30 people, including media personnel covering the protest.
“The blast occurred near the Punjab assembly building when a suicide bomber on a motorcycle rammed into a police vehicle. Two senior police officials were reportedly killed in the explosion,” said an eye- witness.
“The explosion was heard for several kilometres. It was a very powerful explosive device,” Al Jazeera’s Kamal Hyder, reporting from the blast site in Lahore, said.
Several ambulances arrived at the scene following the blast, while security forces cordoned off the area on Mall Road.
“The road has been sealed off; right now ambulances are evacuating the wounded, and also the police and security forces have gathered at large numbers around the assembly building,” Hyder said.
Nawaz Sharif, Pakistan’s Prime Minister condemned the attack and vowed to step up the fight against armed groups in the country.
“Terrorism isn’t a novelty for us. Our story has been one of constant struggle against its grasp and a fight for the soul of Pakistan,” he said in a statement.
“We have fought this fight against the terrorists among us, and will continue to fight it until we liberate our people of this cancer and avenge those who have laid down their lives for us.”