Terrorist strike at Lahore’s Manawala Chowk claims six lives, while 22 others were injured. Four military men and two civilians perished as a result of the blast targeting a census team. “It appears to have been an act of terrorism,” Punjab provincial law minister Rana Sanaullah stated.
Chief Minister of Punjab expressed sympathy and offered condolences to the families of the martyrs. He confirmed the death toll in a tweet stating: “4 security personnel from armed forces deployed for Census as well as 2 civilians have lost their lives in this blast.” Another tweet from the CM stated that the nature of the blast was ascertained and that the authorities have been directed “to provide best medical facilities to the injured.”
A notice issued by the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics confirmed it was a suicide attack. “A private van engaged by Lahore Cantt Tehsil was carrying 17 army personnel which was attacked by a suicider on April 5, 2017 at about 8:20 am. The law enforcement agencies have cordoned off the area and collected head and legs of the attacker.”
Shortly after the explosion unfolded, rescue teams reached the site and carried the injured to General Hospital and Combined Military Hospital (CMH). Security forces cordoned the area and started a search operation.
In a statement, Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa paid tribute to the martyrs including four Pakistan Army personnel and two civilians. COAS expressed deep grief and sorrow over the incident saying that the of precious lives of the civil enumerators and soldiers is beyond any doubt a great sacrifice. “My heart goes out to the bereaved families and my highest tributes to the martyrs who laid down their lives in the line of duty,” Gen Bajwa stated.
COAS further said that the conducting census was a national obligation.“The conduct of census will be completed at any cost. These sacrifices will only strengthen our resolve and with the support of the entire nation we will cleanse the menace of terrorism from our soil.”
The Premier also heaped condemnation and expressed his deepest condolences over the loss of precious lives. PM Nawaz Sharif sympathized deeply with the families of the martyrs, and offered prayers for the departed souls. Governor of Punjab Malik Muhammad Rafique Rajwana condemned terrorist attack on the census team at Bedian Road. “Those who conduct and master mind such barbaric acts deserve no leniency at all,” he said in a statement.