Image Attribute: Ground Zero - Lahore Blast / Source: Arman News's Twitter Handle
At least 16 people were killed including DIG Traffic Ahmed Mobin, were killed and over 90 wounded when a large explosion hit a protest rally at the busy Mall Road near the Punjab provincial assembly in the Pakistani city of Lahore on February 13, officials and media reports said.
Local police official Ali Raza said the blast occurred when a man on a motorcycle rammed into the crowd of hundreds of pharmacists who were protesting amendments to a law governing drug sales. The blast was so powerful that it was heard several kilometers from the place of occurrence.
Lahore Traffic Police chief Captain Mobeen Ahmed, Senior Superintendent Police Lahore Zahid Gondal and Deputy Superintendent of Police Pervez Butt were among the deceased. There was the heavy police presence in the area in view of the protest.
Image Attribute: Ground Zero - Lahore Blast / Source: Al Jazeera Twitter Handle
Jamaat-ur-Ahrar, a faction of the Pakistani Taliban, claimed responsibility for the attack.
A loud bang could be heard on live television, which showed smoke billowing up as people ran from the scene, some of them carrying injured victims.
Immediately after the bombing, rescue officials reached the crime spot – where a significant number of law enforcers had already been present due to the protest – and ferried the injured to Sir Ganga Ram and Mayo hospitals, where the condition of more than 20 injured was stated to be critical.
Section 144 has been imposed in Lahore by the Punjab government also an emergency has been declared in all hospitals within the city.
In a statement, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said his country would "continue to fight" militancy. Prime Minister said that “such cowardly acts cannot deter the resolve of the nation to stand against terrorism and our government is committed to root out this menace”.
Jamaat-ur-Ahrar also claimed responsibility for a bombing during Easter last year that killed more than 70 people in a public park.
Image Attribute: Ground Zero - Lahore Blast / Source: Daily Times Twitter Handle