A teenager blew himself up in the Lahore near a Shiite procession, killing at least 13 people and wounding more than 50, in an attack claimed by Taliban militants who said they had targeted police.
About 90 minutes later a Bomb Planted on a Motorcycle detonated in Karachi, killing three people, including two policemen, police and hospital officials said.
The first bombing took place at a busy intersection in downtown Lahore when a young teenager tried to join a Shiite procession before detonating close to a police checkpoint, said city police chief Aslam Tareen.
A group affiliated with the Pakistan Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack.
Thousands of Shiite worshippers have taken out a procession to mark the Chehlum of Imam Hussain (R.A) when the blast hit their procession at Bhati Gate near the Lohari Chowk Tuesday evening.
The suspected bomber was around 14 years old and was carrying a bag as he tried to reach the marchers, but police would not let him in without a body search, CCPO Tareen said.
Hospital officials said 13 people, including three policemen and a woman, were killed and around 50 people were wounded.
However, Doctor Asad Ashraf at Lahore city’s main Mayo Hospital said the hospital had received ten bodies, including that of the suicide bomber, and 70 wounded, while another four injured people were at a hospital nearby.
Footage from the scene showed ambulances racing to the area and men carrying away victims. Body parts of the people were seen scattered after the blast. Injured women and children were crying for the help.
Shakirullah Shakir, a spokesman for the Fidayeen-e-Islam wing of the Pakistani Taliban, told The Associated Press in a phone call from undisclosed place that the militant group had dispatched the bomber and warned of more such bombings.
“We will continue such attacks in future,” Shakir said.
Chehlum, the 40th day of the martyrdom of Hazrat Imam Hussain (RA) and other martyrs of Karbala, is being observed today across the country with mourning processions being taken out in different cities and towns of Pakistan.
The government has claimed to have taken extraordinary security measures to protect the mourning processions but the sad incidents exposed lap in the security.
Separately, in Karachi, an explosion took place in Malir area of the city, killing three people and injuring four others, shortly after the Lahore suicide attack.
Police surgeon Hamid Perhiar at Karachi’s main Jinnah Hospital said three people, including two officers were killed, while there was another policeman among the four injured.
Meanwhile, at least four people, including three policemen and a passerby, were killed and four others wounded after a bomb rigged to a motorcycle went off in Malir on Tuesday.
The blast took place near a medical centre in Darakhshan Society on the Sharea Faisal, between Malir Halt and Malir 15, at a time when mourners were returning to their homes in Malir after taking part in a Chehlum procession.
Three police constables — Mohammad Imran, Mushtaq and Kamran Qureshi — and a passerby Hafiz Kashif died immediately. Three others — ASI Manzoor, pedestrian Mohammad Sammar and a private security guard Ali Hasan Tanio — were admitted to the Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre.
Another wounded policeman, Gulfaraz, was shifted to the Liaquat National Hospital. The chief of Sindh police, Sultan Salahuddin Babar Khattak, told JNN the head of the police constable Kamran Qureshi was found at the scene.
The IG identified him as police constable Kamran Qureshi, who was under training at the Razzaqabad police training college. Mr Khattak said although police initially described the bombing as a suicide attack, it later turned out to be wrong.
It emerged through facts gathered later that the bomb was rigged to a motorcycle, which was first initially spotted by several policemen who then called the area mobile for assistance. As soon as the van reached the spot, the bomb went off, Mr Khattak explained.
The method used in Tuesday’s explosion was similar to the one applied in last year’s attacks on Chehlum processions, a Police official said.
“We pulled out the policemen from the mobile. They had been all burnt but still had some life left”, said Sadiq Raza, an eyewitness.
The police mobile, which belonged to Saudabad police station, was badly damaged. It seemed that the right side of the vehicle bore the brunt of the explosion.
Mangled wreckage of the motorcycle was retrieved from the roofs of nearby houses. Window panes of a number of shops and houses nearby suffered
The blast shattered window panes of a number of houses and shops. An electricity pole listed to one side from the impact.
The SP responsible for investigation could not come out with details even two hours after the tragedy.
“I was doing duty at the Chehlum procession. Now I am heading to the scene of the blast,” SP Manzoor Khatian told Dawn.
Ex Senator Allama Abbas Kumali of the Jaffaira Alliance condemned the Lahore and Karachi blasts, saying that the terrorists were carrying out attacks in desperation.