The death toll in a twin suicide bombing in Lahore rose to 54 on Tuesday with more persons succumbing to their injuries and bodies being dug out of the rubble of a commercial hub that was the target of the attack. Thirteen women and seven children were among the 54 dead, officials said.
Twelve bodies were badly mutilated and yet to be identified, Fahim Jahanzeb, a spokesman for the Punjab Emergency Service, told PTI. Another 180 people were injured and 62 of them are still being treated in hospitals, officials said. The heads of the two suicide bombers who carried out the attack on Moon Market last night were found at the site, Special Superintendent of Police Shafiq Ahmad Gujjar said. The powerful blasts went off within a minute of each other near a bank and a police station, sparking a massive fire that gutted dozens of shops. Hundreds of people, including women and children, were present in the market at the time of the attack. Most of the deaths were due to the blaze, officials said. People continued to sift through the rubble of shops and residential apartments at Moon Market today. Shoes and pieces of clothing lay strewn across the market, which was popular for its numerous eateries.
The facade of buildings was blackened by smoke. Scores of people visited the site of the attack to get a glimpse of the devastation caused by the suicide bombers. Several women wept as they walked past the charred remains of shops and motorcycles. No group claimed responsibility for the attack. Police have registered a case against unidentified terrorists. The Lahore Bar Association asked lawyers not to attend courts today as a mark of protest against the attack.
The Association also asked lawyers to stand united against terrorists. Rana Sanaullah, the Law Minister of Punjab province, said India was allegedly involved in the attack on Moon Market but his claim was not endorsed by Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif. Talking to reporters after visiting some of the injured at Jinnah Hospital, Sharif said, "He (Sanaullah) cannot make allegations on suppositions. However, India's involvement in (fomenting unrest) in South Waziristan and Balochistan cannot be ruled out." India has denied Pakistan's allegations that it is behind the unrest in Balochistan province and the tribal areas bordering Afghanistan. PTI