A bomb blast on the Pakistan-India border has left at least 45 people, including women and children, dead and scores wounded, Pakistani police say.
The explosion occurred near a checkpoint at the Wagah border crossing close to the Pakistani city of Lahore on Sunday, Punjab provincial police chief, Mushtaq Sukhera, said.
“At least 45 people have been killed; two Rangers officials are among the dead and women and children were also killed,” Sukhera said, adding that police were investigating the incident.
The bombing reportedly came at the end of a daily ceremony in which Pakistani and Indian soldiers simultaneously lowered their national flags at the border crossing.
Meanwhile, Deputy Medical Superintendent of Ghurki Hospital said that up to 70 people were injured in the bomb explosion.
The development comes as Pakistan has beefed up security in all its major cities as its Shia population is preparing for commemorating Ashura, the tenth day of the lunar month of Muharram, which marks martyrdom anniversary of Imam Hossein (PBUH).
Imam Hussein (PBUH), the third Imam, and 72 of his loyal companions, were martyred on Ashura in the battle of Karbala against the second Umayyad caliph, Yazid I, in 680 A.D. Imam Hussein was killed after he refused to pledge allegiance to the tyrant ruler.