Banned Jamaat-ul-Ahrar issues image of Lahore attack

Islamabad: Banned Jamaat-ul-Ahrar headed by Omar Khalid Khorasani alias Abdul Wali issued the picture of suicide bomber Nasrullah alias Zabi Ullah who reportedly targeted senior police officials at a protest on Lahore’s Mall Road on Sunday.  The attack left 13 people dead and dozens injured. The dead include 6 police officials, including DIG City Traffic Police Lahore Ahmad Mobin Zaidi and Acting DIG (Operations) Zahid Gondal. The terrorist outfit sent a text message to claim their responsibility and later released a video message to warn off future attacks.

IG Punjab Mushtaq Sukhera, while talking to media, maintained that the pharmacists’ protest was provided full security and the area was cordoned off. “A number of police officers including SSP operations Zahid Gondal and  DIG Traffic Captain Mubeen were here who held talks with the pharmacists and an announcement was made for the protesters to disperse. This suicide bomber was waiting to hit police officers, he (the bomber) came out from a DSNG van when the DIG’s gunmen stopped him but he went towards the van and exploded himself,” said Sukhera. Sukhera claimed that a militant organization ‘Jamaatul Ahrar’ has claimed responsibility for the attack but the police “does not rely on such responsibility claims and will investigate the incident”.

The government of Punjab has declared a day of mourning on Tuesday after a terrorist attack near Punjab Assembly in Lahore that claimed at least 13 lives including two top police officials of the province, ARY News reported. The government failed to thwart deadly suicide attack despite intelligence reports and threat alerts from Pakistan’s Ministry of Interior. “The incident occurred as hundreds of chemists protested a new law near the Punjab provincial assembly building,” Rana Sanaullah, the provincial law minister told media.

Sunday’s blast was Jamaat-ul-Ahrar’s forth bombing in Lahore i last three years. Jamaat-ul-Ahrar also claimed responsibility for a pair of suicide attacks in March 2015 at two Christian churches in Lahore, killing 15 and wounding dozens more. It was also linked to a suicide bombing that killed 60 during a flag-lowering ceremony at the Wagah border crossing with India in November 2014, though three different groups have claimed responsibility.

Wagah Border Attack

In November 2014, Jamaat-ul-Ahrar spokesman Ehsanullah Ehsan claimed responsibility for the Wagah border attack in a telephone call to Dawn from Afghanistan. “Some other groups have claimed responsibility of this attack, but these claims are baseless. We will soon release the video of this attack,” he said. “This attack is revenge for the killing of innocent people in North Waziristan.

Roman Catholic and Christ Church in Lahore

On 15 March 2015, Jamaat-ul-Ahrar claimed responsibility for twin bombings at a Roman Catholic Church and Christ Church during Sunday service at Youhanabad town of Lahore. At least 15 people were killed and seventy were wounded in the attacks.

Gulshan-e-Iqbal Park, Lahore

In March 2016, a spokesman for Taliban splinter group Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan Jamaatul Ahrar says: ‘We proudly take responsibility for the suicide attack in a park in Lahore. Members of the Christian community who were celebrating Easter today were our prime target’ but that ‘we didn’t want to kill women and children. Our target were male members of the Christian community’. The nail-filled device near a children’s playground killed over 70 people, reportedly mostly Muslim. It was described as an attempt by the group “to establish itself as the most aggressive and violent” Islamist group in Pakistan.

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