LAHORE, Aug 13: Eight people, including two policemen, were killed and over 20, including 12 policemen, were injured after an alleged suicide bomber blew himself up near a police station on Wednesday.

The incident took place at a time when ceremonies to celebrate the 61st Independence Day were being held across the country.

Fahim Ali Khan, a witness, told Dawn that he saw a young motorcyclist breaking a traffic signal at the Dubai Chowk and, when a traffic warden tried to stop him, he abandoned his motorcycle and ran towards some policemen standing at the Dubai Chowk near a mosque and hit them.

“It was a huge blast, shaking passers-by, motorists, customers and shopkeepers of the busiest market of the city and littering the place with human flesh,” a shopkeeper said.

Senior Superintendent of Police, Chaudhry Shafiq Ahmed, told Dawn the suicide bomber was a pedestrian who apparently targeted policemen performing duty at the Chowk.

“The bomber’s face and legs are intact and he has a beard and appears to be in his 20s,” the SSP said.

The dead policemen were identified as sub-inspector Jafar Baloch and constable Arif Malik. Rescue 1122 spokesman Fahim Jehanzeb Khan told Dawn that they took 13 injured people and bodies of two people, a woman among them, to hospital.

An Edhi Foundation spokesman told Dawn that volunteers of the foundation shifted 35 people to different hospitals.

The blast was so powerful that it shattered windowpanes of several vehicles, an adjacent mosque, nearby buildings and scattered human flesh hundreds of feet away.

Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif expressed sorrow over the loss of lives in the bombing.

The chief minister condemned the cowardly act of terrorism and directed health authorities to provide best medical facilities to those injured in the bombing free of cost.