Fearing terrorist attack, Lahore was already on ‘high alert’: officials claim

Security forces in March had received four threats regarding a possible terrorist attack in the city

Rameez Khan April 05, 2017
Security forces in March had received four threats regarding a possible terrorist attack in the city. PHOTO: APP/FILE

LAHORE: A ‘high alert’ warning has been in effect in the walled city since April 1 after being issued by the National Counter Terrorism Authority (Nacta). The warning noted the threat of a militant attack on Lahore, a senior Punjab government official disclosed after a Wednesday suicide blast killed at least six people.

The official, while giving more details, said the security forces last month had received four threats regarding a possible terrorist attack in Lahore – two on March 29 and two on March 30.

6, including four soldiers, martyred in Lahore suicide blast

Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif was also briefed about those threats during a cabinet committee meeting on law and order at the start of this month.

In response, the meeting had decided to heightened security across Punjab particularly at main entry and exit points of the province and Lahore on the directives of CM Punjab.

Police and law enforcement agencies (LEAs) were told to improve their coordination and constant surveillance of suspects, the Punjab government official said.

In the meeting, it was also decided that Punjab Police and Rangers would speed up the ongoing combing and search operations across the province.

Speaking to The Express Tribune, Punjab Law Minister Rana Sanaullah revealed that amid the nationwide census, Lahore was on militants’ hit-list.

However, the minister claimed that improved security would help protect the census teams in the future during the national census and other important installations in the province.

On the other hand, a senior police officer, on condition of anonymity, said that security alert in the city is nothing more than giving false reassurances to the public because there was no room of tightening the security any further. Terrorists could only be beaten through precise intelligence, he added.

Eight dead as mystery blast wrecks Lahore cafe

On Wednesday, a suicide bomber killed at least six people, including four army soldiers and wounded 19 when he blew himself up near a vehicle taking part in a census in Lahore.

According to Rana Sanaullah, the planning of the attack was done in Kunar province of the neighbouring Afghanistan.

Condemning the Lahore suicide attack, Army Chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa said that despite the assault, the census would be completed at any cost.

Shahbaz Sharif also condemned the incident and directed Inspector General Punjab to submit a preliminary report regarding the blast within 24 hours.


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