News / Asia

    Pakistan Detains Over 200 Suspects in Lahore Bombing

    Pakistani police commandos and security personnel cordon off the area of Sunday's bombing at an amusement park in Lahore, Pakistan, March 28, 2016.
    Pakistani police commandos and security personnel cordon off the area of Sunday's bombing at an amusement park in Lahore, Pakistan, March 28, 2016.
    Ayaz Gul

    Authorities in Pakistan have detained more than 200 suspected Islamist militants in a major crackdown in connection with Sunday's suicide bombing in Lahore that killed at least 72 people, many of them Christians celebrating Easter.

    The deadly attack occurred at a crowded public park in the capital of the country’s most populous province of Punjab. Twenty-nine children were among the dead while more than 300 other people were wounded.

    Investigations

    Provincial Law Minister Rana Sanaullah told reporters Tuesday that police and special counter-terrorism units, led by intelligence agents, have conducted scores of raids across Punjab and rounded up more than 5,000 people.

    Fahd Ali, 10, right, who was injured in a bombing that killed his parents and sister and wounded two sisters, narrates his ordeal to visitors outside his home in Lahore, Pakistan, March 28, 2016.
    Fahd Ali, 10, right, who was injured in a bombing that killed his parents and sister and wounded two sisters, narrates his ordeal to visitors outside his home in Lahore, Pakistan, March 28, 2016.

    Investigators later released all but 216 people who are undergoing further investigation, he said, adding the crackdown is continuing with a determination to bring the perpetrators of the Lahore carnage to justice.

    In a separate news conference in Islamabad, Pakistani military spokesman Lt. General Asim Bajwa said that intelligence agencies along with regular and paramilitary troops are also carrying out operations against suspected “sleeper cells” and “terrorist hideouts” in several cities of Punjab.

    Jamaatul Ahrar, claimed responsibility

    A breakaway faction of the Pakistani Taliban, Jamaatul Ahrar, claimed responsibility for the bombing, saying it was intentionally aimed at the Christians.

    The group’s spokesman, Ehsanullah Ehsan, vowed to carry out more such attacks in Punjab, prompting authorities to temporarily close all public parks across the province. In his latest message, the spokesman also threatened to attack local media.

    "Everyone will get their turn in this war, especially the slave Pakistani media…We are just waiting for the appropriate time,” the spokesman said in a Twitter post.

    The Easter Sunday bombing was the deadliest attack in Pakistan since a December 2014 militant raid on a school in Peshawar that killed nearly 150 people, mostly children.

    Punjab is Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s political power base, where 60 percent of Pakistan's 190 million people are located.

    The Pakistani Taliban and its affiliated militant outfits have been waging an insurgency against the state for more than a decade, killing tens of thousands of people.

    Vow to punish those responsible

    In a televised national address Monday night, Prime Minister Sharif vowed to intensify counter-terrorism and anti-extremism operations in the country to punish those responsible for killing innocent Pakistanis.

    “We are keeping count of every drop of blood of our martyrs. This account is being settled, and we will not rest until it is paid," he said.

    A major military-led ground and air counter-insurgency operation has been under way in semi-autonomous tribal areas near the Afghan border since 2014. The region is known to have harbored local and foreign militants for years.

    Pakistani Christian women mourn the deaths of their family members during a funeral service at a local church in Lahore, Pakistan, March 28, 2016.
    Pakistani Christian women mourn the deaths of their family members during a funeral service at a local church in Lahore, Pakistan, March 28, 2016.

    Officials insist that the operation has significantly reduced militant violence across the country, describing recent attacks on "soft targets" like public places an act of desperation by the militants.
     
    In the wake of the Lahore bombing, Sharif canceled a planned to trip to the United States, where he was to attend a nuclear security summit starting on Thursday.

    You May Like

    Hope Remains for Rio Olympic Games, Despite Woes

    Facing a host of problems, Rio prepares for holding the games but experts say some risks, like Zika, may not be as grave as initially thought

    IS Use of Social Media to Recruit, Radicalize Still a Top Threat to US

    Despite military gains against IS in Iraq and Syria, their internet propaganda still commands an audience; US officials see 'the most complex challenge that the federal government and industry face'

    ‘Time Is Now’ to Save Africa’s Animals From Poachers, Activist Says

    During Zimbabwe visit, African Wildlife Foundation President Kaddu Sebunya says poaching hurts Africa as slave trade once did

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Ivorian Chocolate Makers Promote Locally-made Chocolatei
    X
    July 29, 2016 4:02 PM
    Ivory Coast is the world's top producer of cocoa but hardly any of it is processed into chocolate there. Instead, the cocoa is sent abroad to chocolate makers in Europe and elsewhere. This is a general problem throughout Africa – massive exports of raw materials but few finished goods. As Emilie Iob reports from Abidjan, several Ivorian entrepreneurs are working to change that formula - 100 percent Ivorian chocolate bar at a time.
    Video

    Video Ivorian Chocolate Makers Promote Locally-made Chocolate

    Ivory Coast is the world's top producer of cocoa but hardly any of it is processed into chocolate there. Instead, the cocoa is sent abroad to chocolate makers in Europe and elsewhere. This is a general problem throughout Africa – massive exports of raw materials but few finished goods. As Emilie Iob reports from Abidjan, several Ivorian entrepreneurs are working to change that formula - 100 percent Ivorian chocolate bar at a time.
    Video

    Video Tesla Opens Battery-Producing Gigafactory

    Two years after starting to produce electric cars, U.S. car maker Tesla Motors has opened the first part of its huge battery manufacturing plant, which will eventually cover more than a square kilometer. Situated close to Reno, Nevada, the so-called Gigafactory will eventually produce more lithium-ion batteries than were made worldwide in 2013. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Polio-affected Afghan Student Fulfilling Her Dreams in America

    Afghanistan is one of only two countries in the world where children still get infected by polio. The other is Pakistan. Mahbooba Akhtarzada who is from Afghanistan, was disabled by polio, but has managed to overcome the obstacles caused by this crippling disease. VOA's Zheela Nasari caught up with Akhtarzada and brings us this report narrated by Bronwyn Benito.
    Video

    Video Hillary Clinton Promises to Build a 'Better Tomorrow'

    Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton urged voters Thursday not to give in to the politics of fear. She vowed to unite the country and move it forward if elected in November. Clinton formally accepted the Democratic Party's nomination at its national convention in Philadelphia. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone has more.
    Video

    Video Trump Tones Down Praise for Russia

    Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump is toning down his compliments for Russia and Vladimir Putin as such rhetoric got him in trouble recently. After calling on Russia to find 30.000 missing emails from rival Hillary Clinton, Trump told reporters he doesn't know Putin and never called him a great leader, just one who's better than President Barack Obama. Putin has welcomed Trump's overtures, but, as Zlatica Hoke reports, ordinary Russians say they are not putting much faith in Trump.
    Video

    Video Uganda Unveils its First Solar-powered Bus

    A solar-powered bus described by its Ugandan makers as the first in Africa has made its public debut. Kiira Motors' electric bus, Kayoola, displayed recently at a stadium in Uganda's capital. From Kampala, Maurice Magorane filed this report narrated by Salem Solomon.
    Video

    Video Silicon Valley: More Than A Place, It's a Culture

    Silicon Valley is a technology powerhouse and a place that companies such as Google, Facebook and Apple call home. It is a region in northern California that stretches from San Francisco to San Jose. But, more than that, it's known for its startup culture. VOA's Elizabeth Lee went inside one company to find out what it's like to work in a startup.
    Video

    Video Immigrant Delegate Marvels at Democratic Process

    It’s been a bitter and divisive election season – but first time Indian-American delegate Dr. Shashi Gupta headed to the Democratic National Convention with a sense of hope. VOA’s Katherine Gypson followed this immigrant with the love of U.S. politics all the way to Philadelphia.
    Video

    Video Dutch Entrepreneurs Turn Rainwater Into Beer

    June has been recorded as one of the wettest months in more than a century in many parts of Europe. To a group of entrepreneurs in Amsterdam the rain came as a blessing, as they used the extra water to brew beer. Serginho Roosblad has more to the story.
    Video

    Video Commerce Thrives on US-Mexico Border

    At the Democratic Convention in Philadelphia this week, the party’s presumptive presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton, is expected to attack proposals made by her opponent, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. Last Friday, President Barack Obama hosted his Mexican counterpart, President Enrique Peña Nieto, to underscore the good relations between the two countries. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Tucson.
    Video

    Video Film Helps Save Ethiopian Children Thought to be Cursed

    'Omo Child' looks at effort of African man to stop killings of ‘mingi’ children
    Video

    Video London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunities

    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora