Lahore, Aug 12: Pakistan's top counter-terrorism agency has issued two alerts, warning about possible terror attacks by two Taliban suicide bombers at the Wagah and Ganda Singh borders with India around the Independence Day.
The National Counter-Terrorism Authority has asked the Punjab Director General of Pakistan Rangers, the Home Department and the Punjab police chief to take high preventive measures to protect the public as well as security personnel.
"Tehreek-i-Taliban's Fazalullah group is planning to target parade at Wagah Border in Lahore and Ganda Singh Border in Kasur on August 13, 14 or 15," the security alert says. The letter also says two suicide bombers have been sent to hit these targets. "Extreme vigilance and heightened security measures are suggested to avoid any untoward incident," it says.
The Punjab Home Department has also issued a separate alert saying "at least 16 suicide attackers have entered the Punjab province" who are planning to target public gatherings in connection with the Independence Day. Following the alerts, the Punjab police launched a crackdown in the border areas and arrested a number of suspects.
"Police have taken more than 50 suspects into custody during a crackdown and security has been beefed up in the city as well as in the border areas," Lahore police spokesman Niyab Haider told PTI. He said the suspects would be quizzed and kept into custody till verification process as a majority of them could not produce documents related to their identity. He said police personnel have also been deployed at the border areas on Pakistan's Independence Day (August 14).
Rangers have also reportedly enhanced their patrolling in the border areas. A deadly terrorist attack had hit Wagah in November 2014, when over 60 people, including children and security personnel, were killed and 200 others injured minutes after the flag-lowering ceremony at the border.
"We have taken measures in the wake of the security alert issued by Nacta about possible terror attack at two important places - in Lahore and Kasur," Lahore police chief Capt (R) Amin Wains said.
He said police had launched the combing, search and sweep and intelligence-based operation last night and arrested several suspects. He said major security enhancement has been made around the Wagah Border. Meanwhile, the Punjab government has cancelled all outdoor activities planned for celebrating the Independence Day in the view of terror threat. "The Quetta blast this week that killed 74 people mostly lawyers has necessitated the need to be more careful about the August 14 festivities that attract massive public participation," an official said.