Islamabad – A car bomb on Tuesday killed at least 20 people and inured around 100 in eastern Pakistan on Tuesday, police said.
The explosion took place at a compressed natural gas refueling station in Faisalabad, some 120 kilometres west of Lahore, the capital of the country’s largest province Punjab.
‘The bomb was planted in a vehicle which was parked near the compressor of the CNG station,’ district police chief Aftab Cheema said. ‘Twenty people are dead and around 100 are injured.’
It demolished several buildings in the area where various government offices, including the regional office of the military’s Inter-Services Intelligence agency, an office of state-run Pakistan International Airline and an army recruiting centre, were located.
Tahir Hussain, the top civil administrator in Faisalabad said it was not immediately clear which building was the target of the attack. ‘There are some important state buildings in this area and any one of these could be the target.’
According to Hussain, some unconfirmed reports were putting the death toll at 32.
Television footages showed collapsed buildings and destroyed vehicles. Smoke was still rising from the refueling station.
About a dozen people are believed to be trapped under the debris, said Subhan Ali, a spokesman for the district government.
‘It was a huge blast which was heard five to six kilometres away,’ Ali said. ‘The destruction is very big. It was a busy area. Buildings are demolished and we are trying to pull out dead and injured people.’
No one accepted responsibility for the bombing but Taliban and al-Qaeda linked groups have repeatedly attacked official and civilian targets across Pakistan.
Faisalabad, known as Pakistan’s Manchester due to a large textile industry, has been relatively safe. Tuesday’s bombing was perhaps the first major attack in the city.