Death toll rises to 65 in suicide blast at Wagah border
New Delhi: The death toll in the deadly bomb blast in Pakistan Wagah border rose to 65 today that include personnel of the Pakistan rangers and a small innocent child. Almost 200 others were injured in the suicide bombing yesterday near the exit gates of the Wagah border car parking. It took place minutes after the popular flag-lowering ceremony at the main Indo-Pak land border crossing.
In the meantime, Beating Retreat at Wagah has been cancelled for three days on request from Pakistan.
As per the report of Dawn News, at least 25 kilos of explosives may have been used in the attack. The report further added that there was heavy security in the area which the bomber managed to breach.
According to the Inspector Mushtaq Sukhera General Police of Punjab Police, "It appears that he (the bomber) is a young man of 20-25 years. At least 15 to 20 kilograms explosives have been used in the blast, showing some of the explosives was in his suicide jacket and remaining he might have carried."
The attack came at the forefront of the ‘Shia' holy day of Muharram in midst of the tight security.
One of the eye-witnesses told to a newspaper that, "I had a car. I was standing there. There was a huge blast and my leg got injured. They admitted me to the hospital."
According to the Punjab Rangers Director General Khan Tahir Javed Khan, investigations are underway. "This was a suicide blast. The suicide bomber had wanted to penetrate inside the venue but he could not do so. Half an hour after the parade ended, the blast happened outside the security zone. At that time people going out of the venue were hit in the blast. It's too early to say who caused the blast. We are investigating."
At least three of the terror groups have claimed responsibility till now for the attack. Al-Qaeda affiliated militant group Jandullah that was behind the suicide bombing killed at least 78 Christians at a church in Peshawar in September 2013. They thus claimed responsibility for the attack.
The spokesman of the splinter group of the Tehreek-i- Taliban Pakistan told to a newspaper that (TTP)Ahmed Marwat the attack was a reaction to Pakistani military's operation Zarb-i-Azb and Waziristan operation against insurgents.
Meanwhile, another militant group Jamat-ul-Ahrar who broke away from the main TTP leadership in September, refused the claim saying they were behind the blast.
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has expressed his "grief and sorrow" and even condemned the blast. He ordered authorities to provide best medical assistance to the injured.
According to Radio Pakistan, Defence Minister Khawaja Muhammad Asif said that the government's resolves to fight terrorism in the country. In a statement, he said the terrorists cannot dent the resolve of the nation to fight terrorism.
The government has even announced Rs 500,000 to the kin of those killed and Rs 75,000 for the kin of those injured in the suicide attack at Wagah border. Another eyewitness Imdad Husain, told to a newspaper that he was returning after watching the parade ceremony when he heard a loud noise near the Wagah border market.
"I fell unconscious. When I gained consciousness there had been complete darkness. Many injured and I cried for help lying on the road. After 15 minutes some rescue men came towards me and shifted me to the Ghurki Hospital, a border area health facility," he said.
At present, Emergency has been declared at all hospitals in Lahore. "The death toll may rise as the condition of some seven or so patients is still critical. We are trying our best to safe these patients including a four-year-old girl," senior doctor at Ghurki hospital Khurram Shahzad said to a newspaper.
As per the Punjab Emergency Services Rescue 1122 spokesman Jam Sajjad, he feared rise in the death toll.
"We have shifted about 200 injured in different hospitals of Lahore," he said. He further added that the condition of over a dozen is critical.
The Home Ministry has put the Border Security Force on high alert in India too. Prime Minister Narendra Modi too has condemned the attack and called it "dastardly act of terrorism".