LAHORE: At least 13 people, including senior police officers, were martyred Monday when a suicide bomber hit close to the Punjab Assembly in Lahore when hundreds of demonstrators had gathered for a protest, officials said.
The powerful explosion also left dozens injured, with reports of more than 60 wounded being treated at different hospitals in the eastern city of Lahore.
According to hospital officials, as many as 46 injured were brought to the Mayo hospital, while 28 injured were being treated at Mayo hospital.
According to Inspector General Punjab Police, 13 people were martyred in the suicide bombing. Deputy Commissioner Lahore confirmed that at least 73 people had been injured in the blast.
Red alert in federal capital
Meanwhile, police said that security has been put on red alert in Islamabad.
The Inspector-General of Police Islamabad issued directives for the red alert, following which all routes going in and coming out of the federal capital were being strictly monitored.
Suspicious man arrested
Law enforcement personnel have arrested a suspicious person from near Charing Cross in Lahore, close to where the suicide bomber detonated his explosives.
Meanwhile, banned terrorist outfit Jamaat-ul Ahrar has reportedly claimed responsibility for the attack.
According to initial reports from law enforcers, the terrorists had planned to attack the Governor House in Lahore, which was immediately secured by security personnel following the blast.
PM denounces Lahore blast
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has strongly condemned the Lahore blast reaffirming that such cowardly attacks cannot shake the nation's resolve against terrorism.
The prime minister, in a statement issued from PM House, directed provincial authorities to reach the site of bombing and expedite relief activities. He directed concerned officials to provide all possible assistance and best medical treatment to wounded of the attack.
COAS condemns attack
Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Bajwa while condemning the terrorist attack in Lahore expressed grief over the loss of innocent lives, ISPR said in a statement.
General Bajwa instructed local Army commander and intelligence agencies to provide all necessary assistance to the civil administration in the evacuation of injured to hospitals and also to apprehend those responsible for this heinous act.
NACTA warned of attack
A notification issued by the National Counter Terrorism Authority (NACTA) on February 7 stated that an unidentified terrorist group has planned a terrorist attack in Lahore.
NACTA called for strict vigilance at vital installations including important buildings, hospitals and schools to avoid any untoward incident.