Lahore : Four soldiers among six martyred in suicide attack on census team at Badian Road , Lahore today in the morning.
The targeted census team was accompanied by security personnel on Lahore’s Bedian Road, officials said.
Punjab government spokesman Malik Ahmed Khan has confirmed the attack was carried out by a suicide bomber who walked towards the vehicle of census team and blew himself standing by the vehicle.
According to the initial report prepared by CTD was presented to Punjab Chief Minister, Suicide attack was carried out at 7-45 and around 10 Kg explosive material used in the blast,attacker seemed like Uzbek citizen aged around 20 to 22,ball bearings were also used in explosive,2 vehicles of census team, 3 bikes and a rickshaw destroyed in the blast.
He said experts were yet to determine the amount of explosive material used in the attack but said the target was a census team.
“The provincial government spokesperson confirmed four military personnel and two civilians were martyred and 15 individuals were injured in the blast. “Two of the 15 injured are in critical condition,” he said.
“I was standing a hundred steps away from the incident,” an eyewitness told Geo News. “I called 1122 which reached the site 20 minutes later.”
Rescue teams reached the site soon after the incident, as security personnel cordoned off the area.
The Punjab government spokesperson admitted the presence of a persistent threat in the province. “We were aware of a high-level threat on March 29 but the target was unclear,” Khan said.
Punjab Law Minister Rana Sanaullah also said that Lahore had been on a security high alert and it was regrettable the blast took place despite the alert.
The minister said security concerns would remain until all hideouts of the banned terrorist outfit Jamaat ul Ahrar were destroyed.
“Jamaat ul Ahrar has claimed all the recent terrorist attacks in Lahore so far,” Sanaullah said, adding that the perpetrators of Wednesday’s attack would soon be found.
The minister also expressed concern over the presence of terrorist hideouts in Afghanistan and claimed many terrorist attacks in Pakistan were being planned from Nangarhar area of Afghanistan.
He vowed that terrorism would be exterminated from the country and the census process would be completed at all costs.
Attackers behind the Bedian Road attack will not be let to go unpunished, said Corps Commander Lieutenant General Sadiq Ali during his visit to Combined Military Hospital. He was at the hospital to enquire after the health of people injured in the blast.
“The indiscriminate operation against terrorists will continue.”
He added the deceased lost their lives while fulfilling their national duty. Four of those who lost their lives were security personnel, according to the Punjab government spokesperson, Malik Ahmed.
The Pakistan Bureau of Statistics said in a statement that the data collection process would continue as per schedule. “The census proceedings will not be affected by the terrorist attack in Lahore,” a statement issued by the Bureau said, adding that the attack apparently aimed at spreading fear within the enumerators and other staff.”
President Mamnoon Hussain, on Wednesday, condemned the blast incident in Lahore and issued orders to provide necessary assistance to those affected. “All national projects including the census activities will be conducted as per schedule,” Hussain said.
Condemning the attack on the census team, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif expressed his deepest condolences over the loss of precious human lives and paid rich tributes to the Pakistan Army personnel who were targeted while performing their duties during the national census.
The Interior Minister of Pakistan Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan, in a statement, expressed grief at the terror attack.
Chairman Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Bilawal Bhutto Zardari strongly condemned the act of terrorism, stating that the PPP is the “heir of all those who were martyred in the incident.”
“An exceptional strategy is indispensable to defeat anti-state elements,” Chairman Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf Imran Khan said in a statement condemning the blast. “Partial implementation of the National Action Plan will prove deadly.”
Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa paid rich tribute to the Pakistan Army personnel and civilians martyred in the suicide bombing targeting a census team in Lahore.
Calling the census exercise a national obligation, the Army Chief said the loss of precious lives of the civil enumerators and soldiers is beyond any doubt a great sacrifice.
“The census will be completed at any cost. These sacrifices will only strengthen our resolve and with the support of the entire nation we will cleanse the menace of terrorism from our soil,” Gen Bajwa vowed.