A tragic suicide bomber attack struck Lahore on Monday on a sit-in by Punjab Medical Stores Association. A TTP faction, named Jamat-ul-Ahrar claimed responsibility for the blast.
CM Punjab, Shahbaz Sharif declared one day of mourning after the blast. The explosion took place at Lahore’s famous Mall Road, considered one of the busiest roads in the city with a high-security presence at all times.
The incident initially took 13 lives, and 2 of the injured succumbed to their injuries on Monday. It was considered a high-profile attack which did not just target civilians but the police force also. Among the 15 who lost their lives, 6 were from police. A massive plume of smoke rose as soon as the blast went off, also injuring around 87 people.
Security experts on the scene said that the suicide bomber attack been in the open, the blast would have resulted in more casualties. The suicide bomber blew himself up between two vehicles, a TV news channel van and a minivan brought by the protestors.
Details of Police Officers Who Lost Their Lives
The blast also took lives of two police officers, DIG Traffic Police Captain (retired) Ahmed Mobinand Acting DIG Operations Zahid Khan Gondal.
These two police officers went to the rally to negotiate with the representatives of Punjab Medical Stores Association to end the sit-in. At the time of the blast, these two officers were negotiating with the protestors in the rally.
NACTA Terror Alert
NACTA (National Counter Terrorism Authority) had issued a warning to the provincial government over the possibility of a terrorist attack in Lahore. A notice sent to the Home Secretary of Punjab, Punjab Police Officer and DG Pakistan Rangers, dated 7th February, directed strict vigilance to protect vital installations, buildings, hospitals, and schools.
Law enforcement agencies have been given terror alerts of possible attacks in the past as well, but they have not been able to prevent such tragic incidents from taking place.
Rana Sanaullah Shifts Blame to Protestors
Rana Sanaullah said that the protesters were responsible for the blast. He was of the view that had there been no protest; this incident would never have taken place. The Punjab Law Minister said that law enforcement agencies acted on the threat alert provided by NACTA to protect major installations. However, he added, protesters provided the suicide-bomber an opportunity to create havoc and result in costly loss of lives.
Citizens Demand Answers from Authorities
In the past, many deadly attacks have taken place in the city. Every time such an incident happens, the government says that it is working to eliminate the menace of terrorism from the country. The citizens now demand answers, asking the government who is responsible for these terrorist attacks in Pakistan.
National Action Plan Need of the Hour
Many criticized the government for its inability to implement the National Action Plan fully. Opposition parties say that Government has so far used the National Action Plan only to victimize them. However, when it comes to implementing the NAP to the entire country, they start protecting their vote bank and political interests.
Future of Military Courts in Pakistan
The military courts are no longer functioning because they have completed the two years’ time. The military courts were initially established to dispense justice at a speedier pace and also assist in reforming the criminal justice system. They gave exemplary punishments to criminals and hardened terrorists. However, the military courts were not able to achieve the second purpose of bringing reforms to the existing criminal justice system.