LAHORE: Up to 46 people were injured, of them four critical, when an explosion occurred in a truck at a parking stand on Outfall Road on Monday evening.
According to eyewitnesses, it was a powerful blast which damaged, partially or heavily, more than 100 vehicles, such as cars, mini-trucks and motorcycles parked at the stand. Up to 46 people were also injured.
One of the eyewitnesses said three or four cars parked by the truck went airborne about 10 to 15 feet due to the impact of the blast. He said windowpanes of a nearby building were also shattered while the roof of a school building in the vicinity also collapsed due to the blast.
A large number of people in the area came out on roads after the explosion. The blast was heard in several areas of the city in the radius of four to five kilometres of the site. The high voltage wires (132kV) from Saggian Grid Station were also damaged leaving the area in darkness.
Over 100 vehicles damaged; school’s roof collapses
According to the police authorities, the initial investigation suggested that the truck was carrying crates of apricot being transported from Swat to the city. The truck had been at the stand for the last three days.
Authorities have yet to ascertain the exact route of the truck from Swat to Lahore.
Officials said a huge cache of explosives had been stored in the truck. They were trying to assess the exact weight of the explosives.
The injured were taken to Services and Mian Munshi hospitals from where 12 of them were discharged after first aid.
Four people suffering life-threatening injuries were admitted to the Mayo Hospital.
Deputy Inspector General Dr Haider Ashraf said the attackers might have been intending to transport the explosives to other areas of the city.
According to Rescue 1122 officials, the powerful explosion left a 10 to 15 feet crater on the spot.
Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif took notice of the incident and sought its report from Capital City Police Officer Amin Wains. He also directed the authorities to investigate the incident.
Some officials said they feared that the explosives-laden truck might have been arranged to target the caravan of ousted prime minister Nawaz Sharif who was earlier scheduled to arrive in the city on Sunday from Islamabad. His rally would have passed by the point as per the earlier plan.
Lord Mayor Mubashir Javed told reporters they would investigate the blast from all angles. He said under the Sunday rally plan, the blast site was on the route of Mr Sharif’s rally.
Published in Dawn, August 8th, 2017