Lahore blasts fail to terrorise Lahoris

Having lived two days in Lahore as a ‘resident’, the three low intensity blasts are a rude reminder that there is a war all over the country..It does not matter whose war it is; what matters is that it is real and not a fantasy and that it continues to harm ordinary, unarmed citizens who perhaps have no hand in formulating policies in Pakistan.

The fodder of terrorism – home grown and external – are innocent victims, children and more often than not, the poor..

What can be done, is the issue. And, the answers to this ostensibly simple question are in short supply.

However, Lahoris have defied terror plots and the city is abuzz with activity this morning. There is fear but also a will to fight back and not let these incidents achieve what they intend to achieve: terrorize the civilians…

The NEWS reports:

LAHORE: Three low-intensity bomb explosions in three juice shops on the Shalimar Road, Garhi Shahu, injured five people, including two children, on Tuesday night here. [More…]

The home-made explosive devices were planted in Rehman, Chinno and Dasco juice corners. The first bomb exploded in Chinno Juice Corner at around 10:20 pm, creating panic among the people. Shopkeepers immediately pulled down shutters. And then the other two blasts followed.

The explosions severely damaged the shops where bombs were planted, also smashing windscreen of a vehicle of the bomb disposal squad. The bombs’ intensity could be felt within a radius of one kilometre.

“It sounded like a thunderstorm. Who knows what happened?” said Abdul Ghafoor, a businessman, who was passing through. “It was a huge boom followed by smoke and complete darkness,” a shopkeeper said.

Another shopkeeper said the first explosion almost deafened him for more than ten minutes. The area plunged into darkness shortly after the explosion and smoke filled the sky over the site, he added.

The shopkeepers hid themselves behind walls in the shops, while the people outside started running to save their lives. Many families also rushed to the spot to get information about their relatives, who had come for shopping.

Shortly after the explosions, police cordoned off the area and asked the people to get back because of their concerns of other blasts. They evacuated the area and sealed it off as ambulances rushed in. All roads leading to the crime scene were restricted for all kinds of traffic.

Ambulances from various organisations, including Rescue 1122 and Edhi, also converged at the site to dispatch the injured to hospitals. The officials of bomb disposal squad scanned the shops and vehicles with a searchlight. An official of the squad said the explosive devices were planted in two juice corners and a hairdresser shop.

The SP Civil Lines Suhail Sukhera rushed to the blast site after the first explosion. Later, DIG Investigation, SSP Operations and other officers also arrived at the scene. SP Suhail Sukhera said it was premature to say anything about the explosive devices, which apparently looked like time devices. He said the timely closure of the shops saved many lives, as the other two blasts could have been more devastating if the shops had been opened.

A police officer, requesting anonymity, said the juice corners, consisting of small cabins, were used for dating. The shopkeepers reportedly had received threats from unidentified persons, who had shown their reservations over the activities going on in the cabins.

A shopkeeper claimed to have seen the two suspects after the explosions and told the police that he might help in drawing their sketches. Two youths served as helpers at Chinno Juice Corner and two children were among the five injured persons. The injured were rushed to two hospitals where condition of one of the five persons was stated to be critical.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

By Salman Aslam & Arshad Dogar

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