LAHORE – More than 20 people were injured, three of them seriously, when two low-intensity blasts hit the Fruit Market at Badami Bagh area late Wednesday night, police and rescue workers said.
The first explosion took place under a cart at the main gate of the fruit market while the other blast targeted the passers-by at a truck-stand near the market, triggering fear and panic in the entire congested and populated locality.
“At least 23 people were injured in two blasts. The injured are being provided best medical treatment at the hospitals,” District Coordination Officer (DCO) Noor-ul-Amin told reporters.
Emergency was also declared in all the public hospitals while the doctors and staff reached the emergency wards to treat the injured soon after the incident, officials said.
A police officer claimed that the local-made explosive devices were detonated by a remote control and the explosive material was fixed in plastic bottles.
“After day-long work, most of us (labourers) were taking rest alongside the footpath when all of a sudden we heard a powerful blast. The first blast was of low-intensity while the second was very powerful,” Muhammad Ramazan, one of the injured told reporters at the Mayo Hospital.
Ambulances were seen racing towards the scenes of the blasts and shifting the injured to nearby hospitals.
Heavy police contingents also reached the spot, cordoned off the area, and launched the search.
Forensic experts also reached the spot and collected forensic evidences from the crime scene. Bomb Disposal Squad were examining the nature of the blast to determine whether the explosive device was detonated with remote control or it was a time device.
Inspector General of Police (IGP) Punjab Muhammad Habib-ur-Rehman visited the crime scene following the blasts and told reporters that the blasts could be the backlash because of the terrorist, who was gunned down in Multan on early Wednesday.
“We are on our toes to confront the terrorists. We will continue fighting the terrorists,” he said. The provincial police chief further said that investigations are underway to ascertain the nature and intensity of the blasts.
The police killed a most wanted militant, identified as Abdul Ghaffar who is said to be head of Tehrik-e-Taliban Southern Punjab, an off-shoot of the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), during an action in the suburb of Multan early Wednesday.
The motive behind the blasts, which took place back-to-back, were not clear yet. However, police sources believed that the aim of the persons responsible for the blast seemed to be to create panic among local residents.
Last year, a series of similar low-intensity blasts targeted cinema halls, theatres, and internet cafes in the provincial metropolis.
Chief Minister Punjab Mian Muhammad Shahbaz Sharif has directed Inspector General of Police (IGP) Punjab Muhammad Habib-ur-Rehman to send the report to him within 24 hours.
The police have been put on high-alert across the Punjab province in the wake of the low intensity blasts, officials added.
Later, an FIR (426/12) under Terrorism Act was registered against unidentified terrorists on the statement of SHO Ravi Road Irshad Ahmed Phularwan. Further investigation is underway.
Low-intensity blasts injure 23 in City