Nawaz Sharif cancels US visit over Lahore bombing

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Islamabad, March 28 (IANS) Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has cancelled his visit to the US after nearly 70 people were killed in a suicide bombing in Lahore, the foreign ministry said on Monday.

The prime minister was scheduled to leave for Washington on Monday to represent Pakistan at a nuclear summit.

“In view of the terrorist attack in Lahore, which took a heavy toll on the lives of innocent citizens of Pakistan and caused injuries to scores of people, the prime minister has decided to cancel his visit to Washington to attend the Nuclear Security Summit,” Xinhua quoted the foreign ministry as saying.

The Pakistan delegation to Washington will now be led by Minister of State and Special Assistant to the Prime Minister, Syed Tariq Fatemi, the ministry said in a statement.

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“Pakistan has actively participated in the NSG (Nuclear Suppliers Group) process and has developed a robust Command and Control System and multi-layered security of its nuclear programme. Pakistan cooperates closely with the IAEA,” it said.

Sharif spent the entire Monday in Lahore condoling the bereaved families, as well as visiting the hospitals to meet those injured in the terrorist attack.

He expressed solidarity with the victims’ families and reassured that the perpetrators behind the heinous attack would be brought to justice.

The blast, claimed by Pakistani Taliban splinter group Jamaat-ul-Ahrar, was carried out by a suicide bomber at a crowded public park in Lahore on Sunday evening. More than 300 people were wounded in the attack.

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