LAHORE - A Joint Investigation Team (JIT) has launched the probe into Tuesday’s terror attack on the police headquarters in Lahore as the initial investigation report has been submitted to the Punjab Chief Minister on Wednesday.
According to the report, submitted by Punjab IGP Mushtaq Sukhera and Home Minister Shuja Khanzada, three terrorists had inspected the site hours before the explosion. The report reveals that a police bus or a top police officer was the possible target of the suicide bomber, who blasted himself prematurely.
At least five people including a police officer were killed and 27 others wounded in a powerful explosion close to the Police Headquarters Qila Gujjar Singh on Empress Road, shortly after Tuesday noon. Several injured, including women and children, are still under intensive medical treatment in different public hospitals.
Police identified the fifth victim on Wednesday who died in the blast. Muhammad Nadeem, a resident of Chichawatni, who was present inside a travel agency office for job interview. Earlier, four dead were identified as police Sub Inspector Rana Yousaf, 46, Muhammad Abbas, 22, Waqar Ahmed, 30, and Amjad Abbas, 30. Police officers and intelligence operatives visited the site of the blast again on Wednesday to record the statements of the eyewitnesses including police officials who were in-guard outside the police headquarters.
Sources have revealed that officers from the security, law enforcement, and intelligence agencies are part of the JIT, tasked to unearth the financers and supporters of the terrorists. They are also investigating whether anyone inside the Police Lines was in touch with the terrorist. “One of the terrorists blew himself up while his two accomplices fled the scene amid chaos and mayhem,” the report says.
A senior police officer said that no important arrest was made so far although the police launched a security sweep across Lahore after the blast.
A day earlier, the Punjab police chief Mushtaq Ahmed Sukhera told reporters that the bomber wanted to sneak into the Police Lines but he exploded himself prematurely. The bomber detonated the explosives strapped to his vest in front of a nearby multi-storey plaza housing offices of travel agencies as he failed to penetrate into the Police Lines.
The police also registered a case under section 7 of the Anti-Terrorism Act (ATA) against unidentified terrorists. Following the attack, Jamaatul Ahrar, an offshoot the banned Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) asserted responsibility of the terror strike which shook the Punjab capital, a city which has seen relatively a few attacks in recent years. Battered militants have stepped up brutal attacks targeting religious places and security forces across the country after the government launched national action plan to weed out extremism and terrorism.
The Peshawar school massacre pushed the regime to launch full-scale operation involving security forces, law enforcement agencies, and intelligence operatives, against the militants.