Lahore bleeds after blasts


Prime VIP
45 killed as terrorists strike at Sufi shrine

Lahore, July 2

Two back-to-back suicide bombings inside Pakistan’s highly venerated Sufi shrine of Data Ganj Baksh shrine here killed 45 persons and wounded 180 others in the latest slew of attacks across the terror-stricken nation.

The blasts took place late last night in quick succession at the shrine of Sufi saint Syed Abul Hassan bin Usman bin Ali al-Hajweri, considered the patron saint of Lahore and revered by millions across the sub-continent.

Several of the injured, including women and children, succumbed to their injuries in hospital today taking the toll to 45.

Zahid Pervez, the medical superintendent of Mayo Hospital, said 45 bodies had been brought to the only morgue in Punjab’s provincial capital. Pervez described the condition of 15 of the injured as critical.

Nearly 180 persons were injured in one of the most devastating attacks in Lahore, which has been increasingly targeted by pro-Taliban militants in recent months.

Though initial reports had said the shrine was targeted by three suicide attackers, SSP Chaudhry Shafiq Ahmed today confirmed that two bombers were involved in the assault.

One bomber blew himself up in the shrine’s courtyard while another detonated his explosive vest in the basement in an area where people perform ablutions.

There was no claim of responsibility for the attack but the Taliban and other militant groups consider Sufism and the visiting of shrines as heretical.

However, the Tehreek-e Taliban Pakistan has denied any involvement in the twin suicide attack. “We are not responsible for these attacks, this is a conspiracy by foreign secret agencies, you know we do not attack public places,” Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan spokesman Azam Tariq said. — PTI

Attacker identified

One of the suicide attackers who blew himself up at the shrine has been identified as a resident of a Pakistani village located on the outskirts of Lahore. The police said Rafiq alias Usman, aged about 20, was a resident of Hadyara village, which is located on the outskirts of Lahore and close to the border with India. “His family has identified him,” a police officer said. The officer said Rafiq’s elder brother was serving in the army.