At least two people were killed and 26 injured in an explosion at Pan Mandi in the Anarkali area of Lahore, officials said on Thursday.
Earlier, a police spokesman said three people were killed in the blast, but Lahore capital police officer spokesman Mubashir Hussain later confirmed two casualties.
Police spokeswoman Rana Arif also said Dawn.com that the explosion was caused by a bomb “placed” in a motorcycle but did not provide further details.
The blast was so powerful it damaged several shops near Lahore’s famous Anarkali Bazaar, witnesses said. Television footage showed motorbikes on fire in a crowded bazaar, as the injured cried out for help.
Speaking to reporters at the scene of the incident, Lahore Police DIG Operations Abid Khan said the impact of the blast left a crater that suggested it was caused by a bomb .
“Our technical team is collecting evidence. We will come to a conclusion based on their analysis,” he said.
Lahore Deputy Commissioner Umer Sher Chattha meanwhile said the blast took place in the last lane of Anarkali Bazaar near Circular Road. He said the explosive material was placed in a motorbike that was parked outside a bank in the area.
He also confirmed that three people died in the incident, adding that the nature of the explosion would be determined by the Forensic Science Agency, the Safe City Authority and the bomb squad.
The DC said two of the injured were in critical condition as the injured were treated at Mayo Hospital.
Punjab Chief Minister Usman Buzdar also learned about the incident and ordered the Inspector General of Police to submit a report in this regard. He also ordered officials to provide the injured with the best possible medical facilities.
In a separate statement, Buzdar condemned the explosion and said those responsible would be arrested and justice served. “This incident aims to sabotage the atmosphere of public order. Those responsible for the explosion will not be able to escape the clutches of the law,” he said.
Shortly after the incident, the Deputy Commissioner of Lahore ordered the Civil Defense Officer to deploy a bomb disposal team to the area and said that a full and thorough sweep of the area should be carried out.
Politicians condemn the incident
Prime Minister Imran Khan condemned the bombing in a statement, urging authorities to provide the best possible medical facilities for the injured. He also requested a report from the Punjab government.
PML-N Vice President Maryam Nawaz said an explosion in an area like Anarkali was incredibly sad and worrying. She prayed for those killed and injured in the incident.
PPP’s Sherry Rehman said she was “shocked and sorry” to hear of the explosion in Lahore.
PML-N Chairman Shehbaz Sharif expressed his sorrow over the incident and offered his condolences to the families of those killed in the blast.
“I am deeply saddened by the loss of precious lives in an explosion in the historic and bustling Anarkali district of Lahore,” he tweeted.
He added that a terrorist incident in Lahore after Islamabad did not bode well for the country. He also prayed for the full recovery of those injured in the blast.
Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed also condemned the incident and expressed his pain at the lives lost. He said he had requested a report from the Punjab government.
The Prime Minister’s Special Assistant for Political Communication, Dr Shahbaz Gill, said the enemy is taking such measures to sow chaos and uncertainty with the aim of damaging the economy. He urged TV stations to report the incident and refrain from sensationalism.
Additional PA contribution