A powerful explosion killed at least 10 people and injured 60 when it ripped through a protest in Pakistan's Lahore Monday, officials said, shattering a growing sense of security in the provincial capital.
Police had cordoned off the area on Mall Road, one of the city's main arteries, as witnesses fled amid fears of a second blast, with images of the injured being carried away shown by local media.
Rescue official Deeba Shahnaz said at least 10 people had died in the explosion, while some 60 other wounded people had been rushed to city hospitals, in figures confirmed by hospital sources.
@FiFPakOfficial Rescue workers have reached #LahoreBlast site before Rescue 1122 @ImranKhanAnchor Mall Road Charing Cross pic.twitter.com/DWyBqyajtF — Engr. Moaaz (@EngrMoaaz) February 13, 2017
No group immediately claimed Monday's explosion, but the same faction of the Pakistani Taliban responsible for the Easter blast recently vowed it would continue carrying out attacks.
Social media users were quick to suggest the blast was meant to derail plans to hold the highly-anticipated final of the Pakistan Super League in Lahore.
The second year of the Twenty20 tournament is currently being held in the United Arab Emirates out of security fears, but after a military crackdown on extremism officials were confident enough to plan for the final to take place in the cricket-mad city.