Lahore, January 21
After reviewing CCTV footage, Pakistani police on Friday identified three suspects, who they believe orchestrated the powerful bombing that ripped through a crowded market here where Indian goods are sold, killing three and injuring 28 others.
The explosion took place at 1.45pm on Thursday after an explosive device detonated near the Paan Mandi in the famous Anarkali market.
Gory videos and images of people lying in a pool of blood had gone viral on social media.
A number of motorcycles, vendor stalls were damaged and windows of shops and buildings were also shattered in the blast. The market is known for selling items like textiles, clothing, jewelry, and handicrafts.
“Through CCTV footage, three suspects, one placing the bag apparently full of explosives, and two others coordinating with each other, have been identified,” a senior police official told PTI on Friday. .
“Geofencing of the area has also been done and we will reach the suspects soon,” he said.
The footage, which was also released to the media, shows the suspect placing a bag in front of a bank near Paan Mandi in Anarkali Bazaar, while the other two were seen coordinating.
They were wearing shalwar kameez and jackets and appeared to be young people in their twenties.
The Deputy Inspector General (Operations) of Lahore, Dr Abid Khan, said the explosive material was placed under a cart or on a motorbike which were found completely damaged at the site.
“Law enforcement said it was a terrorist attack and are investigating whether it was an improvised explosive device (IED) or something else,” he said. .
The Counter Terrorism Department (CTD) of the Punjab Police has registered an FIR against three unidentified people.
Lahore Commissioner Muhammad Usman told reporters on Thursday that the blast was claimed by a group of Baloch insurgents.
“It was an explosive device targeting a crowded place to ensure maximum casualties,” he said.
The Baloch Nationalist Army (BNA), one of several ethnic insurgent groups active in the mineral-rich Balochistan province, claimed responsibility for the blast.
“We accept responsibility for targeting the bank in Anarkali Bazaar Lahore. This attack targeted bank employees. A detailed statement will be released soon,” BNA spokesperson Mureed Baloch said in a tweet.
The BNA had previously warned that it would target financial institutions.
Balochistan, bordering Iran and Afghanistan, is home to a long-standing violent insurgency.
Baloch insurgent groups have already carried out several attacks targeting China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) projects in the region.
However, Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid said the outlawed Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) had claimed responsibility for the blast.
Prime Minister Imran Khan condemned the blast and called on authorities to provide the best medical facilities for the injured. He also requested a report from the Punjab government on the incident.
Punjab Chief Minister Usman Buzdar ordered the Inspector General of Police to submit a report on the incident.
“This incident aims to sabotage the atmosphere of law and order. Those responsible for the explosion will not be able to escape the clutches of the law,” he said. —
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