After Lahore carnage, military goes after terrorists

Islamabad, March 28 (IANS) A number of terror suspects were arrested across Pakistan following the Lahore suicide bombing that killed 72 people as the army decided to launch anti-terrorist operations across Punjab.

The army and Pakistan Rangers on Monday vowed to conduct “a widespread operation” in Punjab to target militants, their facilitators and hideouts, military sources told Dawn.

The decision was taken at a high-level meeting chaired by army chief General Raheel Sharif.

Military spokesman Lt Gen Asim Bajwa said a number of suspects had been nabbed across Punjab.

A number of “suspected terrorists and facilitators” were arrested in raids conducted in Lahore, Faisalabad and Multan following the ghastly Lahore suicide attack on Sunday evening.

At least 72 people were killed and more than 300 injured when a suicide bomber exploded himself in a parking lot outside the main gate of Gulshan-e-Iqbal park when it was packed with families on Easter Sunday holiday.

Most of the dead were women and children who had poured into the park in large numbers to enjoy its many attractions including giant swings, joy rides and boating for children.

The park usually receives large crowds on weekends.

The wounded who are still being treated are warded in Jinnah Hospital, Lahore General Hospital and Sheikh Zayed Hospital. One official, Abdullah Khan Sumbla, put the death toll at 65. But others said 72 had died.

The military said a huge cache of arms and ammunition were recovered in the raids.

Police said the Lahore suicide bomber had been identified as Yousuf, son of Ghulam Farid, a resident of Muzzafargarh.

Three members of his family have been taken away for interrogation, Dawn reported.

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, chairing a high-level security meeting in Lahore, called for more pro-active coordination among law enforcement and intelligence agencies against terrorism, Radio Pakistan reported.

He said all provinces must step up intelligence-based operations against terrorists.

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