Fresh explosives defused near Wagah bomb site


LAHORE: Security personnel conducted a search operation in the areas adjoining the Wagah border crossing near Lahore and recovered a large quantity of explosives and suicide vests which were defused. A search operation was conducted in the populated areas located near the Wagah border after intelligence agencies received information regarding the presence of a ‘suspicious person’ in the area. An initial report over the Sunday blast near the Wagah border was presented to Shahbaz Sharif during a high-level meeting presided by the Punjab chief minister. The attack was discussed in detail during the meeting, following which Sharif directed for the formation of a joint investigation team to probe the incident. He also instructed for tightening of security for Ashura. At least 60 people were killed on Sunday in a blast near the Wagah border, the responsibility of which was claimed separately by the outlawed Jundullah group and TTP-affiliated Jamaat-ul-Ahrar outfits.

Victims include 10 women and seven children, while more than 110 people have been injured.

US condemns attack

The United States condemned the senseless terrorist act at the Wagah border post on November 2, 2014 and offered to provide assistance to authorities investigating the incident.

“On behalf of the American people, I extend my heartfelt sympathies and condolences to the families of the victims as well as to the Government and people of Pakistan,” US ambassador to Pakistan Richard Olson said in a statement issued in Islamabad.

The US envoy said this act demonstrates terrorists’ blatant disregard for life.

He said that the United States remains steadfast in its commitment to the people of Pakistan in their efforts to counter terrorism, uphold the rule of law, and build a peaceful future for themselves and their children.

“We support Pakistan’s efforts to bring all those involved in planning and executing this attack to justice and stand ready to provide any appropriate assistance to authorities investigating this tragic attack”, the US ambassador said.

India, Pakistan call off border ritual after suicide bomb

India and Pakistan have suspended a daily military ritual on their main land border crossing after a suicide attack that killed dozens of people, the first time the colourful parade has been called off since the two countries went to war in 1971.

India’s home ministry said India’s Border Security Force agreed to a Pakistani request to suspend the flag-lowering ceremony to allow mourning.

At least 60 people were killed and more than 100 wounded on Sunday by the explosion that ripped through a carpark about 500 metres from Pakistan’s border gate just as hundreds of people left the popular daily performance.

In this photograph taken on May 24, 2003, A Pakistani (R) and an India soldier march during the flag-lowering ceremony at The Wagah Border Post. — AFP/File
In this photograph taken on May 24, 2003, A Pakistani (R) and an India soldier march during the flag-lowering ceremony at The Wagah Border Post. — AFP/File

Every day, thousands of Indians and Pakistanis flock to watch the elaborate show where border security officials kick their feet high and grimace in mock aggression in a peacock-like display of patriotism.

The crowds pack out bleachers set up on either side of the each country’s border gates, which are adorned with large, facing portraits of their founding fathers, Mahatma Gandhi on the Indian side and Mohammed Ali Jinnah on the Pakistani side.

“It is the first time we have suspended the ceremony after the war. The ceremony was not suspended even during Kargil,” India’s home ministry spokesman K.S. Dhatwalia said on Monday, referring to a 1999 conflict between the neighbours in the town of Kargil.

Two kilometres before the border, India’s police stopped tourists from entering the area on Monday. Four buses carrying 180 people including students on a trip from Agra to see the border ceremonies were stopped and decided to go back.