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Suicide blast in Lahore claims the life of 53

photo source : www.endailypakistan.com

Lahore, March 27 (IANS) At least 67 people were killed and over 300 others injured in a deadly suicide explosion near the crowded and popular Gulshan-e-Iqbal park here on Sunday, rescue and security officials said.

“Some 65-70 people have been killed, included women and children, and over 250 were injured,” an Edhi spokesperson told IANS.

Superintendent of Police Muhammad Iqbal of Iqbal Town area, where the park is located, confirmed it was a suicide attack.

Many of the injured were in critical condition in various hospitals which frantically appealed to Lahore residents to donate blood.

The deafening explosion took place around 6.30 p.m. when the park was teeming with families, especially women and children, enjoying the Sunday and Easter holiday.

Police officials said the blast occurred only a few metres from the children’s swings.

Media reports quoted witnesses as saying that body parts were strewn everywhere.

Daily Pakistan said the park was packed when the attack took place. “There were body parts everywhere,” the Dawn quoted a witness as saying.

Deputy Inspector General of Police Mohammad Usman also confirmed that it was a suicide attack and said that ball bearings used in the explosive had been found at the parking lot.

Police rescuers and over 20 ambulances ambulances raced to the park, which is crowded every weekend, and ferried the injured to hospitals.

Others who survived the explosion helped to take the injured to hospitals in taxis and and rickshaws.

Pakistan Army troops have been deployed as the park and surrounding area has been cordoned off by the security forces.

The first international reaction came from India, where Prime Minister Narendra Modi denounced the deadly blast.

“I strongly condemn it. My condolences to families of the deceased and prayers with the injured: PM,” Modi tweeted.

In Pakistan, shocked leaders condemned the brutal terror. They included President Mamnoon Hussain, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif of Punjab.

ARY News said 5-6 kg of explosives may have been used in the explosion, which was heard in a large part of Lahore, capital of Punjab province.

An emergency was declared in all government hospitals in Lahore. While police cordoned off the park, troops were also rushed to the site to help the civilian authorities.

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Indian Farmers reason behind Smog in Pakistan

Smog in Pakistan has affected the health of people but also caused road accidents.

Indian Farmers causing smog in Pakistan
Indian Farmers causing smog in Pakistan. wikimedia commons
  • Pakistani officials have said that stubble burning by Indian farmers has caused a thick blanket of smog in Punjab province which led to smog in Pakistan as well.

The officials with Environment Protection Department of Punjab province told Xinhua news agency on Saturday night that the smog is causing various diseases and the provincial government is taking measures to control the situation.

The department’s minister Zakia Shah Nawaz Khan said that the smog engulfed the province for the last two weeks, and is feared to continue for the coming week.

She added that the smoke from the Indian farms moved at a velocity of 7 to 8 km per hour towards Punjab province.

Also Read: Restrictions on Freedom of Expression: Pakistani Journalists Struggle with Growing Threats from Government and Militants alike

Local experts said that the total Air Quality Index in the provincial capital of Lahore is 357 whereas the maximum limit should be around 100, adding that if the situation was not controlled, the level is feared to exceed 500 soon.

Syed Mubashir Hussain, an official of the environment department said that the provincial government has banned stubble burning across the province and violators were being arrested.

A total of 197 First Information Reports have been filed against violators and 65 people have been arrested due to stubble burning and solid waste burning.

Some 175 pollution-causing units have been stopped. About 15,718 smoke emitting vehicles have been confiscated, and a total of 43 lakh Pakistani rupees (about $43,000) fine has been imposed, Hussain told Xinhua.

Apart from this, brick kilns using substandard fuel and running their units without emission control devices like wet scrubbers, electrostatic precipitators and fly ash arrestors have also been closed, he added.

Smog in Pakistan has not only affected the health of people but also caused road accidents. According to local media reports, at least 18 people have been killed and 45 others injured in separate fog-related accidents across the province.

Air traffic was also affected due to smog-caused low visibility. Six domestic flights from various airports have been suspended due to smog in Pakistan, spokesperson of Pakistan International Airlines said in a statement.

The Met office said that smog will disappear after rains or heavy winds, but there was no possibility of any of it in the next 48 hours.( IANS)

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Suicide Bomber Kills Dozens in Afghan Shi’ite Mosque in Kabul

The Middle Eastern-based terrorist group in July this year struck a peaceful demonstration in Kabul in which more than 80 people were killed while many more were wounded

Afghan security forces keep watch in front of a mosque where an explosion happened in Kabul, Afghanistan, Nov. 21, 2016.VOA

Islamabad, November 22, 2016: Authorities in Afghanistan say a suicide blast at a Shi’ite mosque in Kabul Monday killed at least 33 people and wounded scores more.

The bomber entered the crowded Baqir ul Olum Mosque during a ceremony and detonated the explosives strapped to his body among the worshipers.

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General Faridoon Obaidi, head of Kabul’s Criminal Investigation Department, told reporters the powerful explosion wounded more than 50 people. He added that the dead and wounded were all civilians.

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Afghan Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah condemned the attack, saying it targeted “innocent civilians – including children – in a holy place. It is a war crime and an act against Islam.”

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There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the bloodshed.

A Taliban spokesman in a brief statement sent to reporters denied involved in the bombing, saying the Taliban had nothing to do with it.

Attacks on Shi’ite worship places in Afghanistan have lately been claimed by Islamic State.

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The Middle Eastern-based terrorist group in July this year struck a peaceful demonstration in Kabul in which more than 80 people, mostly members of the Shi’ite Hazara community, were killed while many more were wounded. (VOA)

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Sikhism in Pakistan: Recalling the Forgotten Treasures of Sikh Heritage

In the Sikh religion, any place where a guru resides or stops by is said to become a sacred place

Shikh pilgrims arriving in Pakistan. (Representational Image). Image source: dawn.com
  • In the Sikh religion, any place where a guru resides or stops by is said to become a sacred place
  • The religious and cultural history of all gurudwaras around the world are believed to be constructs of miracles or preachings of the Gurus
  • Gurudwaras Chota Nankiana, Patshahi Panjvin, and others have been disastrous results of either continuous exploitation by emperors or national tensions

Sikhism is one delicate bond that holds the two nation- India and Pakistan together, with nearly the same amount of followers on both sides of the border and across the world. While Pakistan is the birthplace of Guru Nanak Dev and holds one of the holiest pilgrimage of Sikhism- Sri Nankana Sahib, the article throws light upon some of the gurudwaras that hold immense significance for the community, yet are forgotten treasures of the Sikh heritage.

Gurudwara Chota Nankiana, Distt Lahore Source: www.sikhiwiki.org
Gurudwara Chota Nankiana, Distt Lahore. Source: www.sikhiwiki.org

Manga (Pakistan) is a centuries-old town and is the last district of Lahore on the way to Multan. In Lahore’s district of Manga lies a Gurudwara (the Sikh place of worship), burnt down to rubble with only its outer structure still intact. This is the Gurudwara associated with Guru Nanak, the founder and first Guru of Sikhism, said the Scroll.in article.

Around 35 km from the city of Lahore is Gurudwara Chota Nankiana Sahib, which also holds the significance of Guru Hargobind Ji staying here on his return from Nankana Sahib. While 50 acres of this area is land revenue exempted, the building itself is a hollow for it was burnt down during the Partition. It is believed that a few Sikh believers refused to come out of the Gurudwara, and as a result, it was burnt down by the mob.

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However, the building area is now in possession of Late Justice Maulvi Mushtaq who built Aligarh Public school here, and the pond of this gurudwara is now with Pakistan’s Department of Fisheries.

In the Sikh religion, any place where a guru resides or stops by is said to become a sacred place. One of the most significant transboundary is river Ravi, once used to flow through the western boundary of Manga.

The first Sikh Guru, along with his companions Mardana and Bhai Bala, once crossed river Ravi and took a halt at Manga for a while. He would preach wherever he stayed and this is how Gurudwara Chota Nankiana Sahib was later built. The religious and cultural history of all gurudwaras around the world are believed to be constructs of miracles or preachings of the Gurus.

Gurudwara Patshahi Panjvin, Beherwal Source: www.worldgurudwaras.com
Gurudwara Patshahi Panjvin, Beherwal
Source: www.worldgurudwaras.com

Few kilometres farther Manga is the village of Beherwal, which is home to Gurudwara Patshahi Panjvin (Panjvin means ‘fifth’ and Patshah refers to Guru). This was immortalised in the name of the fifth Sikh guru, Guru Arjan Dev.

Legend has it that Guru Arjan Dev stopped by this small village on the Lahore-Multan road and requested a disciple to get him some water. The disciple said that the well’s water was brackish and he needed to go to the village to bring water for him. Then the guru performed a miracle that is now a government institute. He turned the well’s water from brackish to sweet by miracle and still exists in Beherwal.

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Gurudwaras Chota Nankiana, Patshahi Panjvin, and many others like these have been disastrous results of either continuous exploitation by emperors or national tensions. It is indeed an alarming situation to rise up and preserve these precious and holy shrines and maintain Sikhism as a non-discriminatory non-institutionalised religion that it is.

-This article is compiled by a staff-writer at NewsGram.