another blast at lahore. aku tengah amik driving license masa blast ni berlaku
just 5-6km away from the hotel that i normally stay whenever i am in lahore
mmg normal la aku singgah lahore 2-3 kali sebulan
kalau aku ada kat lahore masa ni sure boleh dengar letupan. ngeri woooo
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LAHORE: A suicide bomber blew up an explosive-laden vehicle outside the interrogation centre of the Special Investigation Agency (SIA) of the Punjab government in Model Town on Monday morning, killing at least 14 people, among them eight security personnel and a woman, and injuring 89 others.
According to DawnNews death toll from the blast rose to 14 today after more bodies were found from under rubble.
The agency works under the provincial home department.
Police said that about 40 personnel were in the rented building, but no suspects were there when the attack took place.
The banned Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) claimed responsibility for the attack.
The building in ‘K’ block of Model Town was near a safe house of the Special Investigation Unit (SIU) in ‘F’ block hit by terrorists in March 2008.
According to some sources, SIU may have been renamed as SIA.
The first attack of its kind in the province during the current year took place at 8.15am.The explosion was so powerful that it killed a woman who lived in a house that was 300 metres away from the blast site. The 40-year-old Saeeda Ghazala was a mother of three. The injured included passers-by, residents of nearby houses and teachers and students of the Quran Academy run by religious scholar Dr Israr Ahmed.
An official said 400kgs to 500kgs of explosives had been used.
A trench dug by the authorities and filled with water to secure the SIA cell prevented the attacker from ramming his vehicle into the wall of the building. Although the vehicle was blown up on the road a few feet away from the trench, its impact was devastating.
Police said the blast, which left an eight-foot deep and 15-foot wide crater on the road and whose impact was felt up to several kilometres away, razed the two-storey building. Several houses were severely damaged.
Panic-stricken residents of Model Town and adjoining localities rushed out of their homes as electricity poles and power lines were damaged and supply suspended.
Dr Abdul Jalil Qureshi, who lives in a nearby house, said he felt as if a bomb had landed on his home. “I heard my daughter scream. I came out of the house and saw two people, including a minor, lying dead on the road,” he said.
“This is what we had been fearing might happen because of the presence of the security agency’s offices. There had been protests but the government did not shift such offices from the city.”
An employee of the Quran Academy said the facility had been there for three years and blindfolded people were often brought there. The security around the cell was stifling for people of the area.
The academy’s administrator said Dr Israr and his family escaped unhurt. He said the mosque and adjacent buildings, some of them used as residences, were damaged.
Members of some Christian families living in small houses in the area were also injured.
Rescue 1122 and Edhi ambulances as well as some citizens took most of the injured to Jinnah Hospital and the others to Sheikh Zayed Hospital and General Hospital.
Police found a charred skull, suspected to be that of the bomber, several feet away from the site of the explosion and sent it to a forensic laboratory for reconstruction.
SSP (Investigation) Zulfikar Hameed said the number of the attackers was yet to be ascertained and since apparently there was no CCTV camera at the SIA centre, police would be hard put to make headway.
However, a case under Sections 302 and 324 of the PPC, 7 of ATA and 3/4 of Explosives Act was registered against the unknown suicide bomber and “his two accomplices” on the complaint of an assistant director of the SIA.
Initial police inquiries showed that some witnesses had seen two suspects step off a double-cabin pick-up at the site of the blast moments before the explosion.
SSP Hameed said the bomber reached the spot using a side road. The road in front of the main gate was closed off with barriers and police deployment.
The attack came two days before the by-election for the National Assembly constituency NA-123 in Lahore and a couple of days after Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif undertook a seven-hour long tour “without protocol” of the city.
Officials of the Model Town Society said they had written several letters to the Punjab government urging it to relocate offices of the SIA and some other agencies.
Governor Salman Taseer accused the provincial government of going light on terrorist organisations. He said that the Punjab government had released two dangerous terror suspects over the past couple of months. He again criticised Law Minister Rana Sanaullah for pampering members of a banned group in a bid to ensure a good showing in a coming by-election in Jhang.
The chief minister ordered an immediate inquiry and promised help to the victims.
The law minister dismissed the gubernatorial statement as outpourings of a man who was never in his senses.
He said facilities run by sensitive agencies would be shifted out of residential areas after getting clearance from the Special Branch of police.
Punjab police chief Tariq Saleem Dogar told reporters that a decision to shift such offices had been taken some time ago, but the provincial government could not implement it “because of non-availability of alternative places”.
Sailab Mehsud adds from Laddah:
TTP spokesman Azam Tariq claimed responsibility for the strike and said: “If the government does not halt military operation in the tribal area and drone attacks continue, the TTP will continue suicide bombings” at government installations.
“We have 2,800 to 3,000 more suicide bombers,” he said.