Pakistan detains thousands in relation to Lahore bombing

Pakistan detains thousands in aftermath of Lahore suicide bombing that killed 70 people

Photo by: AP
Photo by: AP

The grandmother of Pakistani Christian boy Sahil Pervez mourns his death at a church in Lahore, Pakistan, Monday, March 28, 2016.

Pakistani authorities have detained more than 5,000 suspected militants in two days in relation to a suicide bombing that hit a busy park in the eastern city of Lahore on Sunday, a provincial minister said.

Investigators later released all but 216 suspects, who have been referred for further investigation, said Rana Sanaullah, a state minister for Punjab Province from Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif's governing party.

He said the raids were carried out by a mixture of police, counter-terrorism and intelligence agents and confirmed that army and paramilitary forces would be used in future operations.

"This operation will include all law enforcement agencies," Sanaullah said.

A suicide bomber affiliated with Taliban faction Jamaat-ul-Ahrar killed at least 70 and injured more than 300 others, mostly women and children, in the Easter holiday weekend. The militant group said they were targeting Christians.

However, authorities noted that number of the Muslim casualties is almost 3 times the number of Christian victims of the deadly incident.

The militant group which previously declared loyalty to DAESH has carried out five major attacks in Pakistan since December.

In 2014, Pakistan launched an offensive against the Taliban and affiliated militants in North Waziristan, seeking to deprive them of safe havens from which to launch attacks in both Pakistan and Afghanistan.

The Pakistani military has said it is hunting the Taliban's Jamaat-ul-Ahrar faction and has carried out several raids since the suicide bombing, but neither the military nor the government have given any details regarding these.

The Pakistani Taliban is fighting to topple the government. Sharif's opponents have accused him of tolerating militancy in return for peace in his province, a charge he strongly denies.

TRTWorld, Reuters