South Asians for Human Rights

Promoting Democracy, Upholding Human Rights

LAHORE: A suicide bomber struck at the Ghora Chowk, Urdu Bazaar, and killed at least 10 people, including a woman and three policemen, and injured at least 85 others on Tuesday.

The incident took place at the entrance point of a route for the passage of the procession regarding the annual chehlum of Hazrat Imam Hussain (RA) and to provide entry to those who wanted to join the urs of Hazrat Ali Hajveri (RA).

A large number of citizens, including women, rushed to hospitals in a chaotic manner in search of their loves ones and to give blood and relief to the other victims. A number of people fainted on the roads and at the hospitals after seeing dead bodies of their close relatives.

More than a dozen people, out of the total injured, were said to be a in critical condition in several hospitals including Mayo, Ganga Ram and Services. According to reports, a suicide bomber aged between 15-17 years set off the bomb when he was asked by policemen on guard to let them inspect his bag.

The incident caused panic across the area and destroyed a police van standing nearby along with several other vehicles.

There was blood and body parts of victims everywhere along with other destroyed items. The authorities and the district government requested citizens not to panic and stated that the blast did not take place inside the secured zone.

The blast took place around sunset when the chehlum procession was already on its way near the Gumti Bazaar and the rituals related to the final day of the urs were in full swing.

The government imposed a state of emergency in all key hospitals to treat the injured and to cope with any other untoward incident. All rescue workers, along with the bomb disposal squad, police high-ups and officials, including District Coordination Officer Lahore Ahad Khan Cheema, rushed to the scene.

Cheema said that it seemed like a suicide bombing and the brave policemen had saved scores of other lives by sacrificing themselves by preventing the suicide bomber from entering the route of the procession.

He said that there was no change in the security plan, as it was fool proof, adding that the chehlum procession continued on its way. He said the government was in touch with the management of the procession and they had also requested citizens to remain calm and peaceful.

SP (Security) Rana Faisal told the media that the assailant was around 16-years-old. He said that the authorities had managed to prevent a bigger loss by stopping the bomber. He said the police had no instrument to prevent suicide bombers, as there was no technology developed to counter human bombs across the globe.

He said that police and law enforcement agencies were living in a state of war, but they were determined to fight the enemy despite receiving multiple threats and suffering casualties during terrorist attacks.

Punjab Law Minister Rana Sanaullah told Daily Times that the government had taken control of all entrances and exit points of the city and the route of the procession. He saluted the cops who had sacrificed their lives while protecting innocent citizens from terrorists.

Source: Daily Times – 26.01.2011