Lahore : A powerful suicide blast near residence-cum-office of Pakistan’s Punjab province Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif in Lahore on Monday killed 25 people, including policemen, and wounded more than 39 others.

“Police and Lahore Development Authority officials were busy in removing encroachments outside the Arfa Karim Tower, located near the CM’s Model Town residence, when a powerful blast took place,” Rescue 1122 Deeba Shahnaz said.

The chief minister, who is also the brother of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, was in a meeting at his Model Town office when the blast took place. According to Rescue 1122, at least 25 people including policemen have been killed in the blast and more than 30 others injured.

Earlier, Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan put the death toll at 14 but said the toll may rise.

Rescue teams shifted the injured to hospital. Emergency was declared in city hospitals. “The condition of several injures is stated to be critical” Shahnaz said.

Lahore police chief Capt (R) Amin Wains confirmed that it was a suicide blast and the “target was police”.

Citing police sources, the Geo News reported that a suicide attacker targeted police personnel deployed at the site. The area has been cordoned off by a heavy contingent of security forces and the section of the road has been sealed.

No group has claimed responsibility for the blast.

Lahore, the cultural capital of Pakistan, has witnessed several terror attacks in recent years.

In April, six persons were killed and 15 others injured when a suicide bomber targeted a population census team in Lahore’s Bedian Road. In February, a suicide bomber killed 14 people, including senior police officers, near the Punjab Assembly here.

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