Bomb attack kills 9 near Pakistan's Lahore
KONFRONTASI-At least nine people have been killed and over 20 others injured in a bomb blast that ripped through a police checkpoint on the outskirts of the eastern Pakistani city of Lahore.
Deputy Inspector General of police Haider Ashraf said the bomb exploded when the police were changing guards at the checkpoint just outside an annual religious congregation in the suburb of Raiwind on Wednesday.
"I can at the moment say that police was the target," Ashraf said.
Jam Sajjad, a spokesman for emergency services, said a motorcycle was used in the explosion.
Shahid Waheed, a senior government official in Lahore, confirmed that "more than 20 people have been wounded and taken to hospitals,"
Punjab Province, where the city is located, has traditionally experienced more calm compared to the rest of the country, which has been beleaguered by militancy waged by Pakistani Taliban and criminal activities.
Bomb blasts by militants are common in Pakistan, especially in tribal areas bordering Afghanistan. However, attacks in Lahore have become less frequent recently.
In March 2016, a bomb explosion outside a park in Lahore killed at least 65 people and injured 280 others, mostly women and children.
In July 2017, a powerful explosion claimed the lives of at least 26 people and injured dozens more in Lahore.In early April last year, an attack on an army census team in Lahore killed at least six people and wounded 18 others.
A city of around 12 million people, Lahore, the capital of Punjab, is Pakistan's cultural hub.
Thousands of Pakistanis have lost their lives in bombings and other militant attacks since 2001, when Pakistan entered an alliance with the United States in the so-called war on terror. Thousands more have been displaced by the wave of violence and militancy sweeping across the country.[mr/ptv]