Eight security personnel were killed and five injured when a suicide bomber targeted a camp of paramilitary troops assigned to guard VIPs in the heart of the Pakistani capital near the United Nations office tonight.
The attacker sneaked into a camp of the Frontier Corps located a short distance from the busy Jinnah Super market and blew himself up shortly after 7.30 p m when the paramilitary troops were having dinner, police officials said.
Interior ministry chief Rehman Malik said eight security personnel were killed and five injured, one of them seriously.
He said the suicide bomber took advantage of an apparent security lapse at the camp to carry out the attack. The 24 Frontier Corps personnel present in the camp belonged to the VIP and Diplomatic Protection Department.
Soon after the blast, the paramilitary troops opened fire. Police officials said that there was no exchange of fire between the security forces and the attacker.
Malik said the attack was carried out by a lone bomber and dismissed reports that other attackers were at large in the area. Police officials said one suspect had been arrested in the area but did not give details.
Minutes after the blast, panic-stricken shoppers fled from the Jinnah Super market, causing traffic snarls in the area. Most of the shops closed and the usually busy market wore a deserted look.
Deputy Inspector General of Police Bin Yamin told media persons that dismembered limbs of the bomber, including his legs, had been found. Security forces cordoned off the area and conducted a thorough search.
Malik said there were intelligence reports in the past few weeks that terrorists had entered cities to carry out attacks but there was no information on their targets. He said there was no equipment to detect suicide bombers though security forces were training special sharp shooters who could react quickly and gun down such attackers.
The attack was the latest in a series of terrorist assaults targeting Pakistani security forces. Terrorists had recently stormed a police training centre in Lahore, killing eight policemen and injuring 90, while a suicide bomber had targeted a Special Branch office in Islamabad.
"Terrorists are using terror as a weapon against our law enforcement agencies to demoralise them," Malik said. President Asif Ali Zardari and Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani condemned the attack.
Zardari said "such acts of terrorism cannot deter the government's determination to fight terrorism in all its forms and manifestations". Gilani ordered the interior ministry to submit a report on the incident.