69 killed in Lahore, amid Easter celebrations

A suicide blast in Lahore also injured over 300 people, mostly women and children, at a popular park where people were enjoying Easter holiday

Lahore: At least 69 people, including women and children, enjoying Easter holiday at a popular park, were yesterday killed and over 300 others injured when a suicide bomber blew himself up in Pakistan’s eastern city of Lahore, the capital of Punjab province.

An injured bomb blast victim being taken to a hospital after the bomb blast in Lahore. Pic/AFP
An injured bomb blast victim being taken to a hospital after the bomb blast in Lahore. Pic/AFP

A large number of people including Christians were present in the Gulshan-e-Iqbal Park in Iqbal Town area when the powerful blast occurred, leaving many in a pool of blood. “It is suspected that a suicide bomber blew himself up at the main gate of the park,” Deputy Inspector General Lahore Police Haider Asharaf said. He said about 8-10 kilogrammes of explosive might have been used in the blast.

He, however, ruled out that Christians were the target of the attack. “It was not a Christian park. Christians may be among the dead.”

“The death toll has climbed to 69. More than 300 people have been injured,” a Punjab government spokesman said. Another official said the park was a soft target.

An official of the Punjab police said the suicide bomber — believed to be in his 20s — entered the park and blew himself up near the swings. “It appears that the suicide bomber’s main target were children,” he said.

“The death toll may rise as a number of injured are in critical condition,” Punjab minister Bilal Yasin said.

The army has joined rescue officials to shift the injured to hospitals.

An emergency has been declared in city hospitals and appeals have been made to people to donate blood.

Eyewitnesses said there were scattered body parts all around the park, where many families, especially women and children, were present on Sunday evening. Punjab government has announced a three-day mourning in the province.

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