Gulshan-i-Iqbal attack: Death toll rises to 72, security beefed up

Two relatives of a man whose role in the attack is under investigation held


Muhammad Shahzad March 28, 2016
Two relatives of a man whose role in the attack is under investigation held. PHOTO: EXPRESS

LAHORE:


The updated death toll from the terrorist attack at Gulshan-i-Iqbal Park on Monday was 72.


As many as 63 bodies were brought to the mortuary at Mayo Hospital. Others were handed over to relatives of the deceased from various city hospitals.

Of the 63, 58 were identified on Monday and handed over to their families after post mortem examinations. Five bodies had yet to be identified.

Of the 58, 14 were identified as Christian citizens and the remaining as Muslims.

Heart breaking scenes were observed at various city neighbourhoods when the bodies of the deceased were brought back for funeral services.

Parents of Sahil Maseeh and Somal Tariq, two brothers, fainted when their children’s bodies were brought in an Edhi Ambulance to their house in Yousaf Colony. A relative who spoke to The Express Tribune said a large number of family and neighbours had gathered at the house to attend the children’s funeral.

In Youhanabad, a funeral service was arranged for Junaid Masih, Sheroon Patras, Waqar Pervaiz, Basit Amanat, Manahal Javed and Salamat Yousif. Funeral prayers for Nadeem and his wife were offered at their family home in Samanabad, for Irum Shahzadi at her house near Saggian Bridge and for 25-year-old Muhamamd Usman in Mughalpura.

Investigation follow-up

An FIR was registered over the incident under terrorism and murder charges against four unidentified suspects at the Counter Terrorism Department police station on the complaint of Allama Iqbal Town SHO Nasrullah Khan.

It said that the suspects were between 20 and 22 years of age and had worn traditional shalwar kamees. It said the attacker and his three accomplices were stopped at the entrance by a security guard. He said the attacker managed to sneak into the park as the guard spoke to his accomplices.

Investigations teams from the Bomb Disposal Squad, the Punjab Forensic Science Agency and the CTD visited the crime scene on Monday and collected forensic evidence including body parts, ball-bearings, cloth pieces believed to be from the suicide jacket and shrapnel. The samples were sent to Forensic Science Agency laboratory for examination.

The investigation team also released a sketch of the suspected attacker. The Closed Circuit Television (CCTV) camera footage obtained from the site suggested that the blast had occurred at 6:37 pm.

Separately, a CTD team found a computerised national identity (CNIC) card at the scene and started investigating if the card belonged to one of the suspects. The card had belonged to one Muhammad Yusaf, a Muzaffargarh resident. On Monday, a CTD team conducted a raid at the address mentioned on the card and took Yusaf’s two brothers into custody for interrogation. Another team raided at the temporary residence mentioned on the card in Ichhra area and seized his belongings including a laptop.

A city police spokesperson said that it was too early to say if he was involved in the attack.

Security beefed up

Meanwhile, security arrangements were beefed up in the city. A search operation was carried out in areas around the park. As many as 50 suspects were taken into custody, most of them for failure to show identity documents. Operations DIG Dr Haider Ashraf said security measures had been put in place at all parks, hospitals and educational institutes in the city.

Published in The Express Tribune, March 29th, 2016.

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