The Punjab government on Tuesday appointed Captain (retired) Arif Nawaz as the provincial police chief, reported Waqt News.

The official announcement came almost three months after the retirement of Mushtaq Ahmad Sukhera .

Sukhera's retirement left Nawaz with the additional charge of IGP Punjab. He faces an arduous task as the new police chief of Punjab, Pakistan's largest province in terms of population.

His appointment came amid security fears after a power powerful blast on Monday hit a busy vegetable market on a bustling main road in Lahore and killed at least 26 people, many of those policemen.

On Tuesday distraught relatives carried the coffins of two policemen, brothers who were killed in the attack, to a petrol pump which had been turned into a makeshift prayer ground.

Floral wreaths from local police chiefs were placed on the wooden coffins as family members wept.

Police have said their initial investigations show the attack, claimed by the Pakistani Taliban, was carried out by a suicide bomber.

Lahore has been hit by significant militant attacks in Pakistan's more than decade-long war on extremism, but they have been less frequent in recent years.

The last major blast in the city was in March last year, when 75 were killed and hundreds injured in a bomb targeting Christians celebrating Easter Sunday in a park.

But the country was also hit by a wave of attacks in February this year, including a bomb that killed 14 people in Lahore.

In April a further seven were killed in an attack in the city targeting a team that was carrying out the country's long overdue census.

After years of spiralling insecurity, the powerful Army launched a crackdown on militancy in the wake of a brutal attack on a school in late 2014.

More than 150 people, most of them children, died in the Taliban-led assault in the northwestern city of Peshawar - the country's deadliest ever single attack.

It shook a country already grimly accustomed to atrocities and prompted the military to step up operations in the tribal areas, where militants had previously operated with impunity.

The country has seen a dramatic improvement in security since, though groups such as the Pakistani Taliban retain the ability to carry out major attacks.