Anguished families in Lahore spent Easter Monday burying their dead as the toll from Sunday’s suicide bomb attack on Gulshan-e-Iqbal park rose to 72, including 29 children.
Around 370 more were injured Sunday when explosives packed with ball-bearings ripped through the crowds near a children’s play area in the park, where many had gathered to celebrate Easter.
Of the 63 bodies brought to the mortuary at Mayo Hospital, 58 were identified on Monday and handed over to their families for burial after post-mortem examinations. While Christians were targeted, officials said that only 14 of the dead had been identified as Christians and the rest were Muslim.
They have yet to identify five bodies.
Of the 370 who suffered injuries and were admitted to various hospitals in the city, 198 were discharged after being treated for their wounds. Though, 172 people who suffered serious injuries remain under treatment in various hospitals.
Authorities registered the FIR for Sunday’s attack.
The report was lodged against four unidentified suspects on the complaint of Allama Iqbal Town SHO Nasrullah Khan. It added that the attacker and his three accomplices were stopped at the entrance by a security guard. The attacker managed to sneak into the park while the guard was distracted by his accomplices.
The investigation team also released a sketch of the suspected attacker.
Separately, a counter-terrorism department (CTD) team raided the house in Muzaffargarh which was listed on a CNIC card recovered from the blast site. Officials detained two relatives of the card holder from the house for questioning.
The card had belonged to Muhammad Yusaf, who is believed to be the bomber.
A separate team raided a location in Ichhra, a temporary residence mentioned on the card, and seized belongings of the suspected bomber including a laptop.
Markets, parks remain down
Most major markets and recreational places in Lahore remained closed on Monday as the city mourned Sunday’s attack.
Traders’ associations vowed to extend full support to the armed forces in its ongoing crackdown against extremist outfits. Some urged law enforcement and intelligence agencies to improve surveillance to prevent future attacks.
The Parks and Horticulture Authority (PHA) cancelled all its events including the ongoing Spring Festival. All public parks kept by the authority also remained closed on Monday.
The response to calls for blood donation was overwhelming on Monday as well. Long queues were witnessed at all hospitals where the injured were admitted.
The donors included both Muslims and Christians who said that both communities had suffered from the attack and religious differences should not hamper relief efforts.
A similar camaraderie was visible among attendants of the injured.
Imran visits injured
Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chairman Imran also visited the injured as he called for hunting down terrorists across all provinces under the National Action Plan (NAP).
“After the APS attack there was a consensus over the National Action Plan” he said. “It is time to go after terrorists under the NAP, whether they are in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Punjab, Sindh or Balochistan,” he told media as he condemned the attack.
He also lashed out against the government for failing to introduce adequate reforms and to depoliticise the force.
Khan, who arrived in the city on Monday afternoon, went to Jinnah Hospital — which is treating the largest number of injured from Sunday’s attack.
But his visit was marred by chaos as party workers and media men tried to force their way into the ward.
Published in The Express Tribune, March 29th, 2016.