Lahore: At least 10 people were killed and 30 others injured on Thursday when a powerful bomb ripped through a market in a posh locality here, the latest in a series of terror attacks that have left Pakistan on edge.
The explosion, the second to hit the city within ten days, took place at the posh Z Block market of the Defence Housing Society (DHA). The blast came a day after Pakistan Army launched a nationwide military operation 'Radd-ul-Fasaad' to eliminate terrorists and consolidate gains of its counter-terrorism
Punjab Health Minister Khawaja Salman Rafique told reporters that eight people were killed and 30 others injured in the blast. However, two bodies were later recovered from the debris of an under-construction building where the explosive device was planted.
"The death toll of the DHA blast has risen to 10 after two more persons were recovered from the under-construction building," Edhi Foundation Lahore spokesman Muhammad Younis said. Among the injured, the condition of three was said to be critical.
CEO of Pakistan's Airlink firm Moazzam Paracha was among those killed in the blast. "Mr Paracha was present at his under-construction restaurant (and) suffered serious injuries and was rushed to
the General Hospital where he died," Younis said.
"Bombay Chowpati (that serves Indian cuisine) and Alfarno Cafe restaurants were apparently the target of (the) terrorists. The device was planted in an under-construction building near Bombay Chowpati," a senior police officer said. He said these restaurants were frequented by young couples.
Deputy Inspector General Lahore Police Dr Haider Ashraf said, "Apparently an explosive material was planted in an under construction building in Z block market. We are also investigating the other aspects like that of gas leakage."
Punjab police spokesman Niyab Haider, however, confirmed that it was a "planed device" that caused the explosion. "It appears to be a planted device. However we are investigating from all aspects," he said.
A few days earlier the same market was evacuated by law enforcement agencies after a bomb threat.
Chief Minister Punjab Shehbaz Sharif ordered an investigation into the blast and summoned a report from Inspector General Police.
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif expressed grief over the loss of lives in the blast while Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar condemned the attack and sought an immediate report on the incident.
No group has yet claimed responsibility for the blast.
Updated Date: Feb 23, 2017 21:07 PM