Blast outside Data Darbar in Lahore: At least 9 people, 5 of them policemen, were killed and several others injured after a bomb went off outside Data Darbar in Lahore on Wednesday. A bomb targeting two Toyota pick-up trucks of the Elite Force of Punjab Police went off near Gate No. 2 of Data Darbar, the reported. The forces were guarding the Sufi shrine in the city.

SP City division Syed Ghazanfar Shah said of the 15 people injured in the blast, eight were in critical condition. The injured were shifted to the Mayo Hospital in Lahore. Security forces cordoned off the area and a unit of the bomb disposal squad reached the spot to collect samples of the explosive used in the blast. However, nature and exact target of the explosion hasn’t been ascertained yet. A rescue operation was conducted in the area before it was cordoned off. A heavy contingent of the police was also deployed there.

DIG Operations Lahore Ashfaq Ahmed Khan, who was on his way to the hospital to visit the injured, confirmed 5 police officials died in the blast. Entry to the Data Darbar was sealed in the aftermath of the blast. Data Darbar saw another blast in 2010 in which 42 people were killed in what was then described the biggest toll in a single attack in Pakistan. In Pakistan, Data Darbar is one of the most revered Sufi shrines and is built around the grave of Sufi saint Abul Hassan Ali Hajveri, Lahore’s patron saint.

So far, no terrorist organisation has claimed responsibility for the blast. But Sufi shrines are on the radar of Salafist fundamentalists who oppose the syncreticism of the Sufis as part of their Wahhabi monotheistic worldview.

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