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LAHORE: Shops and bazaars in the city remain closed on Tuesday following Monday’s suicide bombing on The Mall.—Online
LAHORE: Shops and bazaars in the city remain closed on Tuesday following Monday’s suicide bombing on The Mall.—Online

LAHORE: Following Monday’s horrific suicide attack on The Mall which claimed 13 lives and left over 100 people injured, Punjab’s law enforcement agencies have launched a province-wide crackdown on banned militant organisations.

The body parts of the suspected suicide bomber have been sent for DNA test to establish his identity.

Officials involved in the investigation into the incident said that senior police officials were the main target of the suicide bomber who blew himself up during a protest by chemists.

They said that Jamaat-ul-Ahrar (JuA), an offshoot of the Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan, which claimed responsibility for the attack in a statement, had attached a photograph of the bomber to the statement. Earlier, the group had done so after carrying out a terror attack on Gulshan-i-Iqbal Park 11 months ago.

The Provincial Intelligence Cen­tre of the Punjab Home Department has issued a letter directing police high-ups to beef up security in different cities of the province.

Bomber’s body parts sent for DNA test; operations to target areas of ‘Afghan/Pathan community’

The letter has been circulated among the divisional commissioners, regional police officers, capital city police officer of Lahore, deputy commissioners, city police officers and district police officers.

An officer privy to the development told Dawn that the crackdown was ordered on the basis of intelligence reports suggesting that militants might have planned similar attacks in other cities.

The Home Department has directed law enforcement agencies to ensure extreme vigilance and heightened security.

“Combing operations [must] be conducted in all targeted areas, particularly where the Afghan/Pathan community is residing,” the letter reads. It recommends thorough snap checking at police check-posts and says that abandoned or unidentified vehicles should not be allowed to be parked near public places.

“Traffic jams must be avoided by intelligent use of traffic police staff as [they] can become a serious security hazard,” the letter says.

Probe into attack

A Counter-Terrorism Department (CTD) official told Dawn that initial investigations into the Mall attack suggested that the suicide bomber was quite young and had approached the site of the blast from Regal Chowk on foot.

He might have been briefed about his exact target right before the suicide attack and his handlers might have gathered information about the presence of senior police officers at the spot from TV coverage of the protest by chemists, the official said.

The initial investigation was based on the modus operandi of the bomber and the militant organisation that had claimed responsibility for the attack.

The official confirmed that law enforcement agencies had received a particular threat alert regarding The Mall attack which described police official as the main target. In the wake of the alert, a joint combing and intelligence-based operation was launched in the city but no significant arrests were made, he said.

Lahore Capital City Police Officer Amin Wains also said that the terrorists had targeted senior police officials, not the protesters.

Chief Traffic Officer retired Captain Ahamd Mobin and acting DIG (operations) Zahid Nawaz Gondal were killed in the suicide attack.

There were more than 150 traders, pharmacists and chemists at the protest camp when the attack took place, Mr Wains said. The bomber walked to the police officials and blew himself up.

A CTD official said that JuA was the only terrorist organisation with the capacity to launch an attack in Lahore.

“The CTD had found that the identity of the suicide bomber in the Gulshan-i-Iqbal Park attack matched to the photograph released by JuA with a statement in which it claimed responsibility for the attack,” the official said.

The Twitter account JuA was using now was the same it had used shortly after carrying out the attack in Gulshan-i-Iqbal Park 11 months ago, he said.

“We have collected the remains of the suspected suicide bomber from The Mall, including his smashed head, jaw, hair, a leg, two hands and some other mutilated body parts,” the official said. They have been sent to the Forensic Science Agency for DNA test to establish the identity of the suspect.

Since it was founded in August 2014 by a former TTP leader, JuA had staged several attacks targeting civilians, religious minorities, military personnel and law enforcement agencies, the official said. Last year, the United States placed it on a list of specially designated global terrorists.

“The only solution to end the continuing acts of terror seems to be an indiscriminate, immediate and ruthless operation against terrorists,” Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said while chairing a meeting on Tuesday to review law and order situation, particularly in Punjab.

Published in Dawn, February 15th, 2017

Comments (71) Closed

jibran Feb 15, 2017 08:11am

Good. Better late than never.

AXH Feb 15, 2017 08:15am

@jibran - This is a typical reactive approach.

anwarSHER Feb 15, 2017 08:25am

All words and no action.

J Ahsan Feb 15, 2017 08:29am

And the show starts again for a while. Rangers should takeover from police and police should focus completely on protecting politicians.

mhw Feb 15, 2017 08:34am

Joke .. no operation in punjab

M Jamal Feb 15, 2017 08:40am

Lame explanations for inefficiency,nepotism,injustice and corruption.

Zak Feb 15, 2017 08:53am

Go in hard, and find their funders and backers.

TRUMPOFINDIA Feb 15, 2017 08:56am

Why NOW? Why NOT 10 days before?

Mohsin Feb 15, 2017 09:03am

Its high time the Govt. of the Punjab allowed law enforcement to rid the province of these rouge elements as it did in Karachi.

Zia Feb 15, 2017 09:00am

How one can believe in such action when the articulates themselves depend on terror outfits for their own survival. The last general election is clear example. The simple question is why they have failed so far and what is the guarantee that they will succeed now. Why they are avoiding operation by military to curb terror outfits?

Batool Nasir Feb 15, 2017 09:29am

If all the plans for r a crack-down on specific communities and other details, of sensitive nature, are revealed to the Press like this. It is unlikely we are ever going to win this war.

Aamir Feb 15, 2017 09:32am

too late. besides, the same is being done so there is no crackdown. however, this story has been written numerous times already.

Aamir Feb 15, 2017 09:32am

@anwarSHER exactly.

Aamir Feb 15, 2017 09:34am

@TRUMPOFINDIA what does that mean? your usual WHY or are you asking about something else? be more specific as you used to be.

majid Feb 15, 2017 09:39am

So innocent Pukhtons residing in Punjab will be humiliated for the inefficiency of LEA's.

Ricbash Feb 15, 2017 09:47am

How come these guys are able to strike deep in Pakistan ? Can't govt keep a check on such elements ? Why should innocent civilians shall bear the pain of losing their nears and dears due to a non functional nincompoop govt ?

mushtaq Feb 15, 2017 09:55am

reactive response wont yield any results untill a proactive well arranged and intelligence based operations are taken place.

goon from the moon Feb 15, 2017 10:09am

Better late than never. Go after Afghanis in particular.

mo Feb 15, 2017 10:35am

Beefing up security will do nothing. Eventually do we really want a policestationed everywhere in Pak with heavy guns ? This PM needs to get to the root of the problem. Stop taking Saudi money, stop funding Madrassah'ss and find schools. Search for and Destroy this group.

Naveed Iqbal Feb 15, 2017 10:33am

Roots of terrorism must be eliminated to avoid such a cancer & evil developing in our society. As protest demonstration must be avoided to set up a gap for such an elements ambushing to conduct such a heinous acts.

Javid Feb 15, 2017 10:40am

Knee jerk reaction.The SC said there are banned outfits in Punjab ,the GoPB spokesman negated that. Recall the Chhotu gang, the tragedies of Chohung, FIA HQ, and half a dozen others yet Rana keeps denying. Recall his statement of post tragedy. Denials will get us nowhere.

MG Feb 15, 2017 10:40am

@TRUMPOFINDIA --rightly said ,since information was available 10 days earlier

Zafar Bajwa Feb 15, 2017 10:42am

Our peoples are certainly innocent who believe in what Govt and intelligence agencies say after an incident. But the govt. intelligence agencies and judiciary certainly owe something to this poor nation-please tell us who is doing this-what are their motives-why they can't be caught ,isolated and punished. Are there some elements within our ranks who are supporting them?

Sab Se Pehle Pakistan Feb 15, 2017 10:56am

Too little too late. We have lost valuable lives over the years just because the PML-N Panjab government refused to have an operation in Panjab. Specially Lahore.

Junaid UAE Feb 15, 2017 11:13am

Don't leave any extremists and terrorists free. Good or bad terrorists - all terrorists are bad. We need to completely eliminate all terror minds.

Junaid UAE Feb 15, 2017 11:12am

We believe in words, not action. We are paying for our mistakes.

CRICKET LOVER Feb 15, 2017 11:20am

Too little too late. Full fledged machinery of government officials is busy protecting MNAs and MPAs. I blame CM Punjab for inadequacy in combating terrorism, nexus of which is in Southern Punjab. Pakistan should leave no stone unturned to combat terrorists from the country.

Shehzad Feb 15, 2017 11:38am

Since the Peshawar carnage there was a need for NAP in every corner of Pakistan.

Dr. SalariA, Aamir Ahmad Feb 15, 2017 11:41am

Too late. The irreversible damage has already been inflicted.

Sab Se Pehle Pakistan Feb 15, 2017 11:50am

Too little too late. We have lost valuable lives due to Panjab governments stubbornness

The end is near Feb 15, 2017 11:56am

Too Little too late.

sheryaar Feb 15, 2017 11:55am

so attack in lahore and so called operation started in 24 hrs.. what about other provinces? is lahore only pakistan ? anyways unless army or rangers conduct operation, any operation by police will not be considered a serious action. we all know the capability of punjab police. they cannot even get rid of chotu gang by themselves.

Philosopher(from japan) Feb 15, 2017 12:15pm

Why not rangers deployment in Punjab. If they are successful in Karachi they would be successful in Punjab too.

Sabeeh Ahmad Feb 15, 2017 12:30pm

Please send all Afghanistan back to their country. Its more than enough now. We have hosted them for long and now its time to send them back to their own land..

JKhan Feb 15, 2017 12:47pm

We have seen such " crackdowns". There will be 'encounters' and injustice this dispensation is well known for. Police have failed and we still remember what chotu gang did to them in RY Khan area. All armed Police men were taken hostage by few armed gangsters.

Arslan Feb 15, 2017 12:57pm

Daily whistles on TV! we will crush the Terrorism! We will not leave them! They are operating outside of our border! we recovered value able evidence! continue......................

Abdulla Hussain Feb 15, 2017 12:59pm

If the operation has to succeed then it has to be across the board irrespective of any affiliations.

IMTIAZ ALI KHAN Feb 15, 2017 01:03pm

@goon from the moon Why attack the innocent Afghan people in Pakistan, most of them have nothing to do this attack. Please don't blame the whole community for act of very few. Love to PakAfghans always, but love to hate.

Talha Feb 15, 2017 01:24pm

Punjab police is heavily politicized and no concrete actions against terrorists can be expected from it. This is just an attempt to yet again fool the Pakistani nation.

Talha Feb 15, 2017 01:22pm

Only a Karachi-like Rangers operation can help control the situation in Punjab.

Tariq Habib Afridi Feb 15, 2017 01:26pm

"The Twitter account JuA was using now was the same it had used shortly after carrying out the attack in Gulshan-i-Iqbal Park 11 months ago, he said."

and they still even doesn't have traced the person behind this account? really? Do they think we are fool? either the story is made up or we pakistani are the most stupid people in this universe that we can trace the person behind this account and we are not doing this?

Ghaznavi Feb 15, 2017 01:38pm

Nothing will happen people will continue to die because the quality of leadership is incompetent and don't have the ability to deal with the problem. Until Pakistanis elect true leaders instead of crooks nothing will change.

DJ Feb 15, 2017 01:52pm

Crackdowns after tragic incidents and losing important lives.No proactive measures at all by our incompetent authorities.

Khan Feb 15, 2017 02:03pm

If the security agencies knew the bad guys are hiding in Punjab, why they wait for something big and nasty like this to happen so that they start chasing them!!! Am I missing something?

ADNAN MAZHER khan Feb 15, 2017 02:05pm

Why have we not involved Army and Rangers in this operation. There will be little chances of success if full force is not used against culprits.

Alba Feb 15, 2017 02:29pm

@Talha ... ... The Punjab police are outnumbered by the bad guys and they know it.

Anonymous Feb 15, 2017 02:27pm

In a banana state like ours PM is stressing on operation in Punjab against militants while law minister is seen publicly supporting proscribed organisations. Can't they see LeJ in Punjab? Names can be different but they are the same. All of them.

TORIS Feb 15, 2017 02:50pm

routine excercises, nothing new. no solution to eradicate the deep rooted basic problems. it will go on...............

Zain Feb 15, 2017 03:00pm

If a terrorist organization (JuA) is using a Twitter account, send an official request to Twitter via the Pakistani embassy in Washington DC, for the IP and MAC addresses of the admin of that account. With that, one may nab a member of the terrorist organization, and he will give up more terrorists under interrogation. I hope this logical step is taken as soon as possible.

KhwarIzmi Feb 15, 2017 03:08pm

RAW is using Afghanis for their dirty work. Seal the Afghan border NOW!

Ergoist Feb 15, 2017 03:11pm

They are creating another problem by targeting a particular ethnic minority. Why don't they also do the combing operations in the Punjabi Talibani community?

Pashtun Feb 15, 2017 03:47pm

We know who was behind chaos in Karachi.. That was an eye opener...we should think within similar lines during Punjab op as well. Some black sheeps must be there in power who co ordinate with these people.

dj Feb 15, 2017 03:59pm

For God sake there is no shortage of competent persons in our country so just hunt for them and bring them to mainstream to save our country.These common but low profile people can really do miracles.Wake Up!

AV Houston Feb 15, 2017 04:00pm

@mhw we all know why there is no operations in Punjab. Biggest mistake Musaraf made was let go of these brothers.

Abdul rehman Feb 15, 2017 04:33pm

@Zain you are a genius

Fareed N Feb 15, 2017 04:38pm

Always reaction Never pro-action, locking the stable after horses galloped out.

Laeeq, USA Feb 15, 2017 05:26pm

Military Courts is the only solution!

Aamir Feb 15, 2017 05:57pm

@dj does that have special meaning mr wake up?

zAamir Feb 15, 2017 06:03pm

@TORIS Indeed!

Imran Feb 15, 2017 07:33pm

"The only solution to end the continuing acts of terror seems to be an indiscriminate, immediate and ruthless operation against terrorists". Our prime minister seems to be an expert at stating the obvious.

ADD (Canada) Feb 15, 2017 08:21pm

Punjab should be pro active not re-active. Anyway, never to late.

umer Feb 16, 2017 02:44am

@Sabeeh Ahmad Correct me if I'm wrong. Didn't your ancestors migrate to Pakistan from India? Logic and fair-play dictates that we should demand your repatriation to your motherland.

y-fi Feb 16, 2017 10:16am

Damage done and as usual agencies confesses threats received ... then what they were waiting for if true ??? more proofs ???

M. Siddique Feb 16, 2017 05:44pm

Crack down in Punjab has been overdue. Clean up all terrorists even if they are politically protected.

Bilal Feb 16, 2017 09:11pm

Its very suspicious that these terrorist organizations are using Twitter, FB and US-we are nt able to identify from which laptop, place, country they are uploading stuff. Why cant we hack them???

pathanoo Feb 17, 2017 12:59am

How did this truce between the Sharifs and the Tahreek-i-Taliban break down. They were not supposed to strike in Punjab. What happened?

Imtiaz khan Feb 17, 2017 05:20am

All r responsible I.e. politicians, administration, public.When ban is imposed by courts on protests n gathering on The Mall why it is allowed to hold meetings n gatherings?Why courts do not take notice to initiate contempt proceedings against officials n administration as also politicians who violate ban?

KhanRa Feb 17, 2017 08:09am

These are the people who Imran Khan wanted to originally negotiate with.

Amir Khan Feb 17, 2017 10:45am

Unlimited crackdowns and operations have failed to curtail the terrorists' capacity to attack & kill.

Shibban Kaul Feb 17, 2017 01:35pm

“The only solution to end the continuing acts of terror seems to be an indiscriminate, immediate and ruthless operation against terrorists,” Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. Yes Mr PM Sir. Please don't allow anyone to categorize terrorists as 'good' and 'bad'. Deepest condolences to the bereaved families. May the departed souls rest in Peace.

Ashraf Feb 17, 2017 02:32pm

Its high time that we admit , we need radically different leadership. These sort of attacks happen and politicians make a mockery out of lives of us normal citizens. This is unacceptable.