Lahore: Bomb blast at Sufi shrine kills 8, injures 25
A powerful explosion outside a revered Sufi shrine in Lahore, Pakistan, took lives of eight people, including five police officers on Wednesday morning. At least 25 were injured. The bomb went off near the Data Darbar shrine in the second largest city of Pakistan during the holy month of Ramzan. A Pakistani Taliban faction has claimed responsibility for the attack. Here's what happened.
Five police officers were martyred in attack
Punjab Inspector General Police Arif Nawaz said the blast was a suicide attack. "The target of the suicide bomber was the vehicle of the Elite Force that was stationed outside the shrine of Sufi saint Ali Hajvari commonly known as Data Darbar," Nawaz added. The suicide bomber came close to the vehicle and blew himself up. The shrine has been closed for investigation.
Terror group said it didn't target civilians
Hizbul Ahrar, the group which claimed responsibility, said the attack was executed when there were no civilians near police. Separately, Punjab Law Minister Basharat Raja feared that the death toll may swell. Prime Minister Imran Khan condemned the attack and asked authorities to send him a report. Meanwhile, the Punjab government is learned to have called an emergency law and order meeting.
Here are the visuals from the spot
In 2010, 50 people died after the shrine was attacked
The attack during the holy month was condemned by many. It is well known that Sufi Islam is facing a threat in Pakistan for the last two decades. In 2010, the same shrine, which was built in the 11th century, was attacked by terrorists. More than 40 people had died at the time. After the attack, security at the shrine was increased.
Few days ago, Khan laid foundation for Sufi university
The terrible attack on Data Darbar shrine comes days after Khan inaugurated a university, dedicated to Sufism studies, in Jhelum district of Punjab. The establishment was named Al-Qadir university, in honor of Sheikh Abdul Qadir Jilani. He was an 11th-century preacher, orator, and founder of the Qadiriyya order of Sufism. The premier had said he wanted to open the university for 23 years.