LAHORE - The Monday’s tragic incident of suicide blast in which 14 people lost their lives and about a hundred were injured has left the people of Lahore in shock.

The officially announced day of mourning reflected the deep sorrow of people. All the major markets of the city remained closed while the attendance at private and public sector offices was also thin. There was little traffic on the roads and commercial areas especially gave a deserted look.

The attendance at private schools hit a low followed by confusion prevailing among parents. Parents however cleared the confusion upon reaching the schools. Most schools were open but many public sector schools as well as private sector schools remained closed.

The Beaconhouse, LGS and many other schools were open while missionary schools like Cathedral Schools, St Anthony’s School, Sacred Heart and Convent of Jesus and Mary were closed. Public sector schools like Queen Mary College that had received terror threats in the past were closed.

The terrible tragedy remained talk of the town among Lahoris who have always shown resolute to the unweaving events. City’s traditional food spots and eateries like the Food Street on Fort Road had very few customers. Some had closed shop considering there would be not much clientele.

Majority of citizens preferred staying in their houses as the city remained under security threat. People preferred not to travel.

Very thin attendance was observed in the government offices. National flag kept flying at half mast on all the government and private buildings. Security was beefed up at the schools, colleges and universities to avoid any untoward incident.

Major markets including Liberty Market, Mall Road, Abid Market, Anarkali Bazaar, Ichra, Brandreth Road Market, Fortress Stadium market, Hall Road and Walled City’s commercial markets remained closed.

In the wake of tragic incident, all the cultural actives were suspended at Lahore Arts Council and Alhamra Cultural Complex. A play ‘Shehr-e-Afsoos’ by Ajoka Theatre was also cancelled. The play will be staged on today.

The usual hustle and bustle was missing on Valentine’s Day, a day of love, which is marked every year on February 14. Many flower shops looked deserted and little activity was seen. The city’s parks including Racecourse Park, Bagh-e-Jinnah, Jallo Park, Model Town Park and Gulshan-e-Iqbal Park presented a deserted look. Families preferred to remain in their houses.

Lahore Fort, Badshahi Mosque and other heritage sites which have always been the epicentre for the visitors from city and nearby towns and villages also presented a deserted look. People who had planned to come to Lahore for recreation postponed their plans.

Representatives of civil society organisations including Peace for Life lit candles in the memory of the victims of the Faisal Chowk blast.

The Lahore Press Club observed black day and national flag was half mist and all the activities were cancelled. A candle vigil was also organised in memory of departed souls of Lahore blast.

The LPC office bearers urged the government to implement complete ban on holding of protests at The Mall and outside the press club.

Noshina Ahmed, mother of two children, resident of Samanabad Town, was of the view that after the terror attack, she became more vigilant to have an eye on her children. “We have not yet forgotten the massacre at Army Public School Peshawar, and other countless terror incidents. The blast outside Punjab Assembly is felt in our hearts,” she told The Nation.

Ali Rana, student of public university, resident of Wahdat Colony, said that the blast tragedy saddened him. “The terrorists tried to lower the morale of lively people of Lahore but we are ready to retaliate with our passion for country,” he said.

Fatima Munir from University of Central Punjab termed the incident ‘extremely tragic’. “Sons of soil were snatched away from their mothers. The semester has already ended but we can feel a sense of fear in the city while traveling to our university,” she added.