Foreigner held in probe into Lahore blast

No major breakthrough in finding driver of suspected vehicle


Muhammad Shehzad June 25, 2021
Members of the Counter Terrorism Department (CTD) survey the site after a deadly blast in residential area in Lahore, Pakistan June 23, 2021. PHOTO: REUTERS

LAHORE:

Police on Thursday took a foreigner into custody at the Lahore airport after offloading him from a Karachi-bound flight for interrogation in connection with Wednesday’s vehicle-borne improvised explosive device (VBIED) blast in the city’s Johar Town.

At the blast site, investigators remained busy in collecting pieces of evidence but there was no major breakthrough about the suspected rider of the black vehicle, presumably used in carrying out the explosion. A senior officer, privy to the investigations, said that the driver was the prime suspect.

The officer found similarities in the “modus operandi” of the Outfall Road blast in 2017 that had left over 46 injured. That case had not been solved as the suspects involved in the matter were yet to be identified and arrested. “In the last four years, this was the second VBIED blast in the city,” he added.

A day ago, on Wednesday, four people died and 20 others, including women and children, sustained injuries when an explosives-laden vehicle exploded near the house of Hafiz Saeed, leader of the banned Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD), in Lahore’s Johar Town neighbourhood.

Several buildings and vehicles near the scene of the explosion were also damaged. According to investigators, preliminary investigation suggested that around 25-30 kilogrammes of explosives could have been used in the blast, as it had left a three feet deep and five feet wide crater at the spot.

Also read: Punjab police close to identifying Johar Town blast culprits: Rashid

The foreigner arrested from the airport has identified as David Paul. Later, Interior Minister Sheikh Rasheed took to social media to reveal that the Punjab police were close to arresting the prime accused in the Johar Town bomb blast.

According to the sources, the suspected vehicle entered Lahore from the Babu Sabu Interchange about one and a half hours before reaching to the blast site. The police also tracked down its movement throughout the metropolis using Punjab Safe City Authority (PSCA) cameras.

Earlier, eyewitnesses accounts had revealed about the presence of a black Corolla car at the blast site. The investigators also found tiny pieces of black coloured metal pieces on the body of the injured as well as in the area surroundings and blast site.

After extracting details of the vehicle, the police came to know that the vehicle owner lived in Hafizabad, who sold the vehicle on the open letter. Following the lead, it transpired that the vehicle had been sold up to four persons on the open letter. Police have taken four to five persons that owned the vehicle in the recent past and were grilling them.

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