Security forces in Lahore picked up four suspects during a late night raid on Thursday in Lahore's Garhi Shahu area soon after agencies investigating the Data Darbar bombing traced the alleged suicide bomber to the locality.
Twelve individuals lost their lives in what officials had described as a suicide bombing targeting an Elite Force van detailed to the security of the Data Darbar shrine on Wednesday.
Agencies investigating the bombing said they had identified the motorcycle rickshaw used to transport the suspected bomber to the shrine.
The suspect took the rickshaw from near the railway station. Video footage obtained by the agencies reportedly shows that the rickshaw driver approached the bomber as the latter approached from Garhi Shahu.
Meanwhile, law enforcement agencies said they had shifted their focus to three major terrorist networks of the outlawed Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) in Punjab to uncover handlers/facilitators of the attack.
Talking about the ongoing investigation into the suicide blast, a senior police officer told Dawn that two high-profile teams had been assigned the task to go after three offshoots of the TTP and their facilitators.
He said the major focus was on Hizbul Ahrar, which had claimed responsibility for sending the teenage suicide bomber to Data Darbar on Wednesday.
He said the law enforcement agencies were using available resources to track down handlers who dropped the boy (suicide bomber) at the shrine.
The official further said that the Counter Terrorism Department (CTD) Punjab had examined the records of three terror groups, including the Ghazi Force and Jamaatul Ahrar.
He said Hizbul Ahrar, which claimed responsibility for the attack, was a splinter group of Jamaatul Ahrar headed by Muqarram Shah from Afghanistan.
Hizbul Ahrar had separated from Jamaatul Ahrar due to some internal rifts. It started operating separately to target primarily the law enforcement agencies in various parts of Pakistan.
In addition to that, the CTD, which is leading the entire investigation process, is also following other leads, like the possibility of the involvement of Daesh as well, he said.
The official further said the probe was being conducted along the lines of the 2017 Mall Road blast investigation, in which LEAs had successfully arrested the facilitator who dropped the suicide bomber near the target site a few minutes before the blast.
Five-member JIT formed
Meanwhile, a five-member joint investigation team (JIT) comprising members from CTD, Intelligence Bureau, Inter-Services Intelligence and Military Intelligence, has been constituted by the Punjab home department to probe the incident.
According to a notification, the JIT was formed on the request of the additional inspector general of police, CTD.