Eight people were killed in a blast near Police Lines in Qila Gujar Singh area of Lahore on Tuesday.
The blast hit just metres from an entrance to the Police Lines sending a column of black smoke rising above buildings.
“According to initial reports it was a car bomb but we are still determining the exact nature of the blast,” senior police official Haider Ashraf told AFP.
Several vehicles caught fire after the explosion and streets were littered with glass as the windows of nearby buildings broke.
A breakaway faction of the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan, Jamaatul Ahrar, claimed responsibility for the attack.
The chief minster’s adviser on health Khawaja Salman Rafique, while speaking to the media in Ganga Ram Hospital, refuted the current death toll of eight.
Rafique said four people were killed and 19 others injured. However, Edhi said eight people were killed, adding that five bodies were found, while the other three have not been located as yet.
IG Punjab has confirmed the blast was a suicide attack.
“It was a bid to sabotage Operation Zarb-e-Azb and the National Action Plan, which will continue no matter what,” our correspondent Rana Tanveer reports.
The chief minster’s adviser on health Khawaja Salman Rafique, while speaking to the media in Ganga Ram Hospital, refuted the current death toll of eight, our correspondent Rameez Khan reports.
Rafique says four people have died, while 19 have been injured. Edhi, on the other hand, says eight people have been killed, adding that five bodies have been found, while the other three have not been located as yet.
Rafique says out of the 19 injured, 13 – including a sub-inspector and an electrician of the police lines — have been moved to Ganga Ram Hospital, of which one person is in critical condition and has been put on a ventilator, while four others have been moved to the services hospital with minor injuries.
The explosion came from a car near the police building, spokesperson Nabeela Ghazanfar told Reuters, adding it was unclear if the attack involved a suicide bomber.
A resident reacts at the site after a bomb explosion near the police headquarters. PHOTO: AFP
A breakaway faction of the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan, Jamaatul Ahrar, has claimed responsibility for the attack.
A female police official is among those injured, according to Express News.
“According to initial reports it was a car bomb but we are still determining the exact nature of the blast,” senior police official Haider Ashraf tells AFP.
The chief minster’s adviser on health Khawaja Salman Rafique, who is being accompanied by DG health, arrives at Mayo hospital to monitor treatment facilities being provided to the injured, our correspondent Rameez Khan tells us.
Watch a video from the site of the blast:
Over 15 injured people have been shifted to Sir Ganga Ram Hospital and Mayo Hospital, our correspondent Rameez Khan reports.
Police officials have been deployed at all key buildings across Lahore.
DCO and CCPO Lahore have confirmed it was a suicide blast.
DCO Lahore Captain (retd) Usman says a suicide bomber blew himself outside the Police Lines. He says the bomber could not enter the building because of the strict security measures put in place.
CCPO Lahore says police have recovered the head and the body of the bomber, our correspondent Rana Tanveer reports.
“He blew himself up prematurely and could not enter the Police Lines,” the CCPO adds.
The blast was followed by rapid gunfire, an eyewitness Ashraf Ali, who works at the press club nearby told Reuters.
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif strongly condemns the bomb blast and extends condolences to the families of the victims.
Seeking report on the incident, the premier asks authorities to provide best medical treatment to the injured, our correspondent Abdul Manan reports.
Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif condemning the blast, directed Inspector General Punjab to probe into the incident and submit a report.
An eye witness tells The Express Tribune that he saw two headless dead bodies lying on the spot. He says there was a loud sound which resonated in the entire area. “Within no time, the adjoining shops, cars and several motorcycles caught fire,” he narrates.
There’s a bomb threat at the Lahore Children Hospital and Mayo Hospital. The wards of the hospitals are reportedly being evacuated.
Our correspondent Rana Tanveer reports that electricity supply to the area is disrupted after main wires were damaged in the blast.
DIG Operations Lahore Dr Haider Ashraf says it is premature to say anything about the cause of the blast.
CCPO Lahore confirms eight people have been killed in the blast, according to Express News.
Rescue efforts are underway.
Express News screengrab of the blast
According to initial reports, the bomber intended to breach the gate of Police Lines. A meeting between security officials was reportedly underway when the blast happened.
Hospitals across the city have been put on high alert. The injured are being shifted to Mayo and Sir Ganga Ram hospital.
Security forces have cordoned off all road leading to the site of the blast.
Several people have been injured and casualties are expected to rise.
Due to the explosion, the windows of nearby buildings broke and the cars parked outside reportedly caught fire.
Security officials and rescue teams have reached the site of the explosion and the injured are being shifted to a hospital.