Terror strikes Lahore, 12 dead

Published: June 1, 2010
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Colleagues help load the body of police constable Ghulam Ahmed onto an ambulance. PHOTO: REUTERS

Colleagues help load the body of police constable Ghulam Ahmed onto an ambulance. PHOTO: REUTERS

Colleagues help load the body of police constable Ghulam Ahmed onto an ambulance. PHOTO: REUTERS A policeman stands guard outside Lahore's Jinnah Hospital after it was attacked by gunmen. PHOTO: REUTERS Security officials gather outside the Jinnah Hospital following the gunmen attack in Lahore. PHOTO: AFP

LAHORE: In an audacious attack, four terrorists entered the emergency ward at Jinnah hospital near midnight and began firing indiscriminately, killing 12 people, including four policemen. The terrorists then took patients, attendants and hospital staff hostage. The terrorists later fled.

Eyewitnesses described the terrorist as fair-complexioned and between the ages of 20 and 22. They are said to have entered the hospital premises camouflaged as police and eyewitnesses said they were riding a vehicle with an official number plate. Some police officials say the objective of the attack seems to have been either killing or securing the release of one of the terrorists responsible for Friday’s attack on the Ahmadi ibadatgah in Model Town, Muaz, who had been captured the same day and was under treatment at Jinnah hospital.

Responding to the hospital’s SOS, the police moved in soon after to cordon off the area and secure the hospital. For at least 30 minutes, the two sides traded fire. One of the terrorists is also said to have been shot in the leg.

One of the terrorists is said to have made his way to the rooftop of the hospital and from this vantage point, continued providing covering fire and picking out the policemen assembled in the hospital premises. Shortly after, the police brought in Armoured Personnel Carriers and Elite Forces reinforcements and managed to cordon off the area.

In order to prevent the terrorists from identifying the location of Muaz in the ICU,  police say, they disconnected power supply to the hospital. Panicked by the firing and the dark, patients, their attendants and the hospital staff made for the exits, running for their lives.

In the ensuing melee, police sources say, the four terrorists made good their escape from the rear entrance of the hospital. As the police gave chase, there was a brief encounter between the two sides in the adjoining area of Hanjarwal, before the terrorists fled from there as well.

Initially, eyewitnesses said the terrorists used a police vehicle for their getaway but later, the police contradicted this claim. It is now being thought that since the car the attackers came in had a government number plate, that’s why the eyewitnesses were deceived. From the rounds left behind, the police are surmising that the four were armed with AK 47s as well as other guns.

The IG Punjab and other senior police officials reached the area to supervise the operation and soon after, managed to secure the building. Meanwhile, police sources said, Muaz was shifted to an undisclosed location.

However, independent analysts are dismissing the police’s theory of the terrorists wanting to secure Muaz’s release. Muaz, it is said, is a significant member of the Punjabi Tehreek-e-Taliban, originally from Muzzaffargarh, and the authorities expect him to render a great deal of useful information about terrorist networks in southern Punjab. However, since he was on life support in the ICU, analysts say, it is unlikely that his comrades could have transported him and must have meant to kill him.

Till the filing of this report, there were conflicting reports about the death toll. While the Jinnah hospital administration said 12 had been killed, DCO Lahore Sajjad Bhutta said between six and eight persons had been killed.

Jinnah hospital medical superintendent Dr Javed Akram requisitioned medical staff from other hospitals of the city to treat the injured.

Several of those injured in Friday’s attacks which killed more than 80 Ahmadis were under treatment in Jinnah Hospital.

Meanwhile, the IG Punjab says that Lahore has been put on high alert and all the entry and exit points to the city have been sealed.

Published in the Express Tribune, June 1st, 2010.

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Reader Comments (16)

  • Faryal Tahir
    Jun 1, 2010 - 1:01AM

    And the captured terrorist from Garhi Shahu too !! I refuse to stay in a country like this, and am not leaving !!Recommend

  • Bananafish
    Jun 1, 2010 - 1:10AM

    About time you guys reported this…Recommend

  • faraz
    Jun 1, 2010 - 1:19AM

    Our strategic assets have struck againRecommend

  • Farid Ahmad Malik
    Jun 1, 2010 - 2:21AM

    It is most likely that the captured terrorist wasn’t present at jinnah hospital.Recommend

  • cmsarwar
    Jun 1, 2010 - 4:39AM

    The most interesting point in the whole episode is that none of the attackers was either captured or killed.Compliments to the great IGP,the Corps Commander ,Lahore and the great Shahbaz Sharif.The major achievement ,ultimately is, that the under-treatment terrorist has now been shifted to an unknown location..Well,treat him well.Recommend

  • Ali Haider
    Jun 1, 2010 - 4:41AM

    The govt has failed to protect its people. The “useless” piece of crap we call our police must be fired, top to bottom. There is no protection anyway so why waste so much money on it.

    But guess what this is not going to happen, because WHO CARES!!!! Recommend

  • Jun 1, 2010 - 6:43AM

    Take away the security given to the leadership (bureaucrats, elected officials, politicians) and then see them scramble to find real solutions for national security!
    Remove any backup power generators from their official homes and offices and then see them scramble to find an immediate solution to the power shortage!
    Take away the limelight, the glamor, the status from these leaders and then see who remains behind to serve the people!
    Take away the ceremonial residences (the president, prime minister, governor, chief minister’s, and the provincial houses) given to these civil servants, and then see who remains behind to serve the people!
    Let civil servants be just that! Not Masters!Recommend

  • CybERSurfer
    Jun 1, 2010 - 9:26AM

    I just don’t know what our Interior Minister, or even the Punjab Government is doing… Law enforcement agencies were never such a failure in the past, atleast on the domestic side of terrorism…
    If their is a “foreign hand” or whatever, they should tell it to the people with substantive evidenece, or stop blaming them altogether…
    If u can’t handle it go home Mr. Interior Minister…Recommend

  • Jun 1, 2010 - 9:55AM

    I hold Punjab government responsible for it because knowing the nature of crime these terrorists committed in Model Town and Garhi Shahu, the injured terrorist Muaz should not have been kept in Jinnah Hospital. Or, if there was no other option, then a disinformation on his whereabouts could have been released as a tactic.

    The I.G. police, provincial Home Minister and the Chief Minister are all bound to justify this blunder on television channels so that we, the voters, could know the strategies and calibre of our senior officers, ministers and leaders.

    It is a very common practice of our police, particularly Punjab police, to show the accused culprits on electronic media with their faces excessively, rather hurriedly covered. We never know whether these accused are actual criminals or not. How come the Punjab police complacently ignored the presumption that there could not be a possible attempt by the terrorists to rescue or even kill their injured accomplice?

    We sympathize with the families of the dead including the policemen but, whoever is responsible for putting people’s life at risk should be punished according to law.

    Though it is simply Utopian thinking!Recommend

  • Jun 1, 2010 - 10:08AM

    Had Punjab Government used little brains and kept that high profile terrorist in Military Hospital instead of General, 12 precious lives would not have lost.Recommend

  • Ahmad Kazmi
    Jun 1, 2010 - 10:20AM

    This is another example of our week security infrastrucure placed to provide seurity to sensitive installations. The terrorists are roaming around the city for the last few days but our intelligence agencies have no clue of their locations. The terrosits can go any where without any fear and can attack any where because that the minimum reponse time which our security personnels take to avert or counter such incidents is more than the time required to carry out such attacks. We have been listening govt’s tall claims of revamping of our intelligence infrastructue and creation of anti terrorisem force to counter such incidents but all have miserably failed to gather prior intelligence to avert such incidents. Certainly a stong will is desired at govt. and provinicial level to take a serious note of such unfortunate incidents.Recommend

  • Jun 1, 2010 - 11:03AM

    I’m quite apalled at the audacity of these terrorists. And what intrigues me most is the police vehicle they used when attacking at the hospital. Let’s not forget the Major who was recently interrogated and found to be involved in banned terrorist organizations. Same may stand for certain elements within the police establishment. I mean….how plausible it seems that within days after the attack on the Ahmedis, this attack comes, entirely unabated and very conveniently carried out by the terrorists who even managed to escape after the attack.
    Apparently, the Punjab government first needs to get out of the delusional denial its been displaying towards the Punjabi terrorists and next, it ought to cleanse its own ranks from those who sympathize with such elements. Recommend

  • ghani
    Jun 1, 2010 - 11:54AM

    Khadim-e-aala you always have the option to be the guest of royal family, rest of us dont.

    Give us a favor clear up the jihadi garbageRecommend

  • Farid Sarwar Bhatti
    Jun 1, 2010 - 12:53PM

    All is drama the Govt is playing with innocent people of pakistan.Every incident takes lives of constablels ,poor people.no threat of life is for high official and politicians ,why? If they think they are minds of decision makers as a reason for their lives to be precious ,what a discrimination ,so why not let civil war take place in the country for life loss aftermaths to be observed for high official and our so called ministers consider themselves the decision makers with fake degress. ha ha ha ……..Recommend

  • Farooq Mirza
    Jun 1, 2010 - 1:03PM

    Some militants attacked on Security Agencies, Police check post and cantonment area etc. and achieve the target. The President/Prime Minister and the leader of political parties condemned such as incident and people of pakistan expressed their grivance and sorrow. The government officials consider that we will eliminate of terorisim from society.
    But in my point of view, the Jihadi Group and other banned organization will never eradicate in the society and they are gradually flourish in the soceity. This is satisfaction and console for today that the element will remove/clean from the society. If we took review of the past history regarding russian war, the same group was fighting against the foreign forces. We should adopt 1990 policy, that time Pakistan was peaceful and other land area was busy while neighbours countries was also demand to Pakistan for talks and militants was also doing their job to reserve other country in their own thoughts as well as Islamic concept of Jihad. During Musharraf regime, now we are begging request for talks and militants playing pakistani innocent lives Recommend

  • Zulfiqar Haider
    Jun 1, 2010 - 1:19PM

    This is another hit and run incident, but thanks God the terrorists couldn’t achieve what they came for.Recommend

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