Terrible news from Lahore- extremists are back in action

Raza Rumi

Two horrific incidents took place in Lahore today. First, the blasts in the busiest of streets – Hall Road frequented by thousands of people. The moral brigade had been objecting to and threatening the shop-owners against selling CDs, DVDs as they somehow lead to decline in morals and of course challenge puritanical worldview held by the Islamists. Now, a warning was sent through two low intensity blasts which left many injured. Lahore’s Talibanisation nightmare might be turning into a reality.

Second, the famous Shezan brand is under attack – the reason: it is owned by an Ahmedi. After killing them in the villages and their places of worship, their right to engage in commerce (a basic right by the way) is being violated. This persecuted community has never been targetted so badly in the recent years.

Lahore – a peaceful, towering cultural centre of yore is now under direct attack by retrogressive forces while the Punjabis continue to deny the existence of religious extremism in their midst. When will we wake up – once the city is destroyed?

Markets, mosques and roads are becoming unsafe while we sit and watch the reality horror shows in our homes. How long will the homes be safe?

Express-Tribune reports: LAHORE: Twin low intensity bomb blasts hit a music and CD market in Lahore on Saturday evening, injuring 11 people and creating panic in the area, police said.

The blasts occurred outside two CDs shops in Zatoon Plaza, one of the busiest music and CD markets of the city, located on Hall Road, police told The Express Tribune. Bomb Disposal Squad officials said these were cracker blasts and the objective was to create panic among people.  The injured, including shopkeepers and shoppers, were shifted to the Mayo Hospital.

“We received 11 injured. Five of them have been treated for minor injuries, while the remaining will be discharged till morning,” Medical Superintendent of the Mayo Hospital Dr Zahid Pervaiz told The Express Tribune.

Police cordoned off the area and launched a search operation. However, no arrest was made till the filing of this report.

The president of the Hall Road Traders’ Association said that most traders had informed him that they had received threatening phone calls from unknown militants. And that he had informed the police about the threats. The callers had asked them to stop selling Western movies and “objectionable CDs” describing it as “dirty business”. However, the traders’ leader said that they would not be cowed down by militants.

“There are 10,000 shops on Hall Road and around 50,000 people visit the market every day,” Dr Haider Ashraf, Operation Superintendent Police of Civil Lines Division, told The Express Tribune. He said perpetrators of the blasts wanted to create panic in the city.

He said that they were investigating the matter. He added that they would also launch search operation in madrassas located near Hall Road.

Express-Tribune once again

LAHORE: Unidentified terrorists attacked Shezan factory on Saturday night with high-explosive blasts, leaving at least four people injured and causing damage to the building.

The assault on the Ahmadi-owned food factory took place at 10pm on Saturday. Glasses of various offices in the factory were broken and corrugated ceilings of sheds inside the factory were also blown. A big portion of the outer wall of the plant was also razed.

Investigators are pursuing the probe by keeping in view the May 28 twin blasts on Ahmadi places of worship – Darul Zikr at Garhi Shahu and Darul Noor at Model Town – in the city.

Police officials told The Express Tribune on Sunday that the factory management also suspected that they were being targeted because of their association with the Ahmadis.

Shera Kot police on complaint of Murad Ali, a manager of the factory, registered First Information Report (FIR) # 415/10 under sections 4/4 of Explosive Substance Act, section 324 of the Pakistan Penal Code and section 7 of Anti-Terrorism Act against unidentified terrorists. According to the FIR, they targeted to destroy the factory.

Waseem Ahmed, an official in the marketing department of Shezan factory, told The Express Tribune that obviously the terrorists who planted the bomb by the factory wall were accomplices of the attackers of their places of worship.

He said that at the time of the blasts there were around 100 workers inside the factory.

He said the plant runs round-the-clock and seven days a week and after the Saturday blasts, attendance in the factory was much less than usual. He said although the local police were cooperating with them but so far no accused had been arrested.

Muhammad Qamar, a worker at the factory, said a sense of fear has gripped the plant workers after the blast. Although it was being suspected the factory was targeted for its Ahmadi connection, but more than 80 per cent of its workers are non-Ahmadis.

He added that the explosion spread panic through the factory as everyone rushed to safe places after the blasts’ deafening sounds rent the air.

Allah Yar, an official of Bomb Disposal Squad, told The Express Tribune that it was a timed device but not a ‘cracker’ as claimed by the police. The device contained high explosive material no less than one kilogramme.

He said although the device was home-made, it left a 9-inch crater on a carpeted road. “How could it then be a cracker?” he wondered aloud.

Iqbal Town Superintendent of Police Capt (retired) Sohail said they have started a crackdown against the suspects in the area. “Some arrests have been made and soon the culprits will be unearthed.”

Published in the Express Tribune, June 14th, 2010.

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