Punjab province observes mourning after Lahore blast

Islamabad, Feb 14 (IANS) Punjab province on Tuesday observed a day of mourning with the national flag at half-mast on all government buildings, a day after a suicide bombing killed 14 persons and injured 85 others outside the Punjab Assembly.

In another development, the Interior Ministry has directed the federal and provincial governments to guarantee strict security arrangements and intensify intelligence-based operations.

Following the blast, Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif visited the Ganga Ram Hospital and consoled the injured assuring them all possible help.

Two senior officials, DIG Traffic Police Captain (retd.) Ahmed Mubin and Acting DIG Operations Zahid Ikram Gondal were also killed in the attack at the Chairing Cross, Mall Road near Punjab Assembly Building here on Monday during a protest staged by drug dealers. Several policemen, women and media persons are also injured.

However, all educational institutes in Punjab remained open on Tuesday.

The Pakistan Bar Council and Punjab Bar Council condemned the incident and demanded the authorities take steps to check such incidents in future.

According to the National Counter Terrorism Authority (Nacta), more than 5,200 intelligence-based operations have been carried out in the country till date, Dunya News reported.

According to the figures, 2,642 operations in Punjab, 290 in Sindh, 1,240 in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, 645 in Balochistan, 294 in Islamabad, 24 in Gilgit-Baltistan and 65 in Azad Kashmir.

Besides this, nearly 18 lakh suspects were arrested during 15 lakh combing operations and 25 lakh stop and search operations held in the country.

Nacta says that provinces are consistently provided intelligence.