An apparent suicide attack reduced a police building, with at least 200 people inside, to rubble in the eastern Pakistani city of Lahore on Wednesday.
At least 10 people were killed and 80 wounded, reported CNN affiliate Geo-TV. CNN could not immediately confirm the casualty count. But police said many were feared buried in the rubble. Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari immediately issued a statement expressing condolences over “the loss of innocent lives.” The blast occurred on Mall Road near the city police headquarters and the high court. It is one of Lahore’s busiest areas. A vehicle packed with explosives broke through a barrier and was headed toward Police Building 15 when it exploded, Lahore’s District Coordination Officer Sajjad Ahmed Bhutta told reporters. The building collapsed. Building 15 houses the city’s rapid response team, which is dispatched during emergencies. The blast destroyed dozens of cars and damaged other buildings, including the adjacent headquarters of Lahore police, said Mohiyuddin Wani, spokesman for the government of Punjab, the state where Lahore is located. Police waved away onlookers in vain. Many of them jumped over the collapsed walls of Building 15 to look for survivors. Motorcycles, which were part of a dealership, were strewn about. Lahore is the same city where gunmen hurled grenades and opened fire on officers at a police training center in March. The same month, gunmen opened fire on a bus carrying members of the Sri Lankan national cricket team on their way to a stadium for a match. The well-coordinated attack wounded at least eight members of the team and killed a driver and six Pakistani police officers.