Security officials inspect the site of a bomb blast that killed two people and wounded 22 others at a busy shopping district in Lahore on January 20, 2022. (Photo by Arif ALI / AFP)

Law enforcement agencies have launched search operations across Lahore and picked up some suspects over their alleged involvement in Thursday’s bomb blast in Anarkali.

Raids were carried out by joint teams of the Counter-Terrorism Department (CTD) and other agencies on the basis of reports about the movement of the facilitators/handlers of the terrorist attack.

It is learned that the law enforcers received a tip-off about the presence of suspects in areas adjacent to Anarkali and other parts of the city. The agencies got some important information through call record data and footage from CCTV cameras installed in the bazaar and the roads leading to it as well as other areas.

Geo-fencing and other such methods helped security officials in spotting the key suspect who was believed to have planted the explosives at Paan Mandi in Anarkali.

Meanwhile, Mayo Hos­pital discharged 20 people injured in the blast whereas eight victims were still under treatment.

Of the eight injured people under treatment, only one was in critical condition, said Medical Superintendent Dr Iftikhar Ahmad. The remaining seven could be discharged from the hospital within a couple of days, he hoped.

Earlier on Thursday night, the official source said, a CTD team had picked up two suspects from Mayo Hospital and shifted them to an undisclosed location for interrogation. Both were released shortly afterward when it transpired they were members of a religiopolitical party.

The official said the LEAs were analysing a lot of CCTV footage gathered from the Safe City Authority, which could play a critical role in getting their hands on the terrorists behind the blast.

To a question, he remarked there was a strong possibility the newly formed Baloch Nationalist Army was behind the blast, as the two groups that merged to create this new organisation had used time devices for their attacks previously.

Separately, Inspector General of Police (IGP) Rao Sardar Ali has also tasked the Crime Investigation Agency (CIA) with handling the blast case besides the CTD.

On Friday, the CIA chief held a meeting after examining the Paan Mandi crime scene and dispatched teams to inspect the roads that could have been used by the prime suspect to escape.

“We have dispatched teams to all the bus stations, railway stations and exit-entry points of the provincial capital,” he said, adding that the IGP also alerted the regional police officers and district police officers of Punjab to intensify security to trace the culprits.

Also on Friday, Punjab Chief Minister Usman Buzdar and IGP Khan visited Mayo Hospital to inquire after the injured victims.

Three people were killed and over 30 injured in the bomb blast at the crowded Paan Mandi of New Anarkali bazaar on Thursday noon. The CTD registered a case on charges of murder, attempted murder and anti-terrorism.


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