ISLAMABAD—The death toll of the suicide blast that hit a public park in Pakistan’s eastern major city of Lahore on Sunday evening has risen to 72, officials said on Monday.
Zaeem Qadri, the spokesperson of Punjab provincial government, of which Lahore is the capital city, said those killed include 29 kids, and 315 people were injured in the deadly blast which rocked the thickly crowded Gulshan-i-Iqbal park.
He said the hospital administration has identified and handed over the bodies of 54 victims to the relatives while some of the remaining are beyond recognitions and relatives of the others could not be found to identify them yet.
The blast, which was claimed by a faction of Pakistan Taliban, Jamaat ul Ahrar, was carried out by a 28-year-old man who belonged to Muzaffargarh city of Punjab.
Haider Ashraf, the Deputy Inspector General Police, said the bomber blew himself up in the parking stand near the gate of the park when it was packed with visitors including the minority Christian community who was visiting there to celebrate Easter.
He said the stand was located near the kids’ swing area and ticket booth and the bomber chose it to explode himself for targeting a large number of people in which he succeeded.
Chief Minister of Punjab Shahbaz Sharif announced a three-day mourning over the incident and said the national flag will fly at half-mast at all the government installments of the province.
The governments in the country’s southern Sindh and southwestern Balochistan provinces announced a one-day mourning.Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and President Mamnoon Hussain condemned the blast and directed the hospital administration to provide best possible medical treatment to the injured people.
The country’s army chief also held a high level meeting and directed concerned commanders, intelligence agencies to commence operations as soon as possible to find linkages and perpetrators of the suicide attack, said the Inter-Services Public Relations, the mouthpiece of Pakistani army.
International community including the US, Turkey, Canada and India also condemned the blast and prayed for the early recovery of the injured people.