At least eight people were killed on Wednesday after an explosion near a Sufi shrine in Pakistan’s Lahore city, Dawn reported. The deceased included five policemen and three civilians, officials said.
At least 26 people were injured in the explosion, which took place near Gate 2 of Data Darbar at 8.45 am. A few injured are in critical condition and are being treated at the Mayo Hospital.
The Elite police force in the area was the target of the blast, a report in The Express Tribune said. The injured include several police personnel. Security forces have been deployed in the area and a rescue operation is under way.
People were evacuated from the temple and entry was restricted. Punjab Chief Minister Usman Buzdar condemned the attack and ordered an inquiry into the incident.
According to reports, the bomb contained seven kilograms of explosive material. Punjab Inspector General of Police Arif Nawaz said authorities had maintained a general security alert, but no specific warning had been issued about a threat to the shrine.
Prime Minister Imran Khan denounced the blast and sought a report of the incident, Geo News reported. Khan deplored said those behind the incident in the holy month of Ramzan are “misguided elements”. He directed authorities to provide the best possible medical treatment to those injured.
Data Darbar is one of the largest shrines in South Asia, Reuters reported, quoting Punjab province police spokesperson Nayab Haider. In 2010, more than 40 people were killed in a suicide blast at the shrine.