Deadly bomb blast at Pakistan protest rally in Lahore kills 13

February 13, 2017

At least 13 people have been killed in a bomb blast at a protest rally in the Pakistan city of Lahore, say police.

More than 80 people were injured in the explosion, which happened after a man rode a motorbike into a crowd of hundreds of pharmacists protesting over drug sale laws.

Punjab police spokesman Nayab Haider said: “Apparently it was a suicide blast but police are still investigating to know the exact nature of the blast.”

Two senior police officers are among the dead, including a former provincial counter terrorism chief.

A spokesman for Jamaat-ul-Ahrar, a faction of the Pakistani Taliban, called the Reuters news agency and said it carried out the attack, saying it was revenge for Pakistani military operations against Islamic militants in tribal regions along the Afghan border.

The same group had also claimed responsibility for a bombing in a public park in Lahore on Easter Sunday last year, which killed more than 70 people.

Live TV said it heard a loud bang and showed smoke billowing up as people ran away, some of them carrying the wounded.

The explosion happened near to the Punjab provincial assembly building, where the protest was being staged.

Pakistan has had launched several offensives against the Taliban and other Islamic militant groups in the tribal regions.

There are fears the latest blast may jeopardise plans by Pakistan to host the final of its domestic Twenty20 cricket tournament in Lahore in March.

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