Washington: A top Pakistan intelligence official has held the Taliban responsible for the ghastly suicide attack at the Hazrat Data Gunj Bukhsh shrine in Lahore in which at least 42 people were killed and over 174 were injured on Thursday.
The official, who spoke on conditions of anonymity, said that the terror strike was in retaliation against the military operation being carried out against the Taliban and other extremist organisations breeding in the country.
“Suicide attacks have become a favourite tactic used by the Taliban. The Taliban seem to be retaliating as Pakistan keeps up the pressure on them,” the official told CBS News.
Thursday’s twin suicide attacks have also underlined Pakistan`s internal religious divisions.
While the Taliban consider visiting shrines to be in violation of their beliefs, most Pakistanis who follow teachings of Sufi saints routinely visit shrines of Sufis to offer their prayers and seek forgiveness and fulfilment of their desires.
Government officials have also sounded an alert, as they fear more such attacks by the Taliban in coming few weeks.
“The next few weeks will be very tricky. There are reports of similar attempts by the Taliban in the pipeline,” an official said.
The Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) has, however, denied its involvement in the Lahore shrine attack.
On Friday, Azam Tariq, as self-proclaimed spokesperson of the TTP told a foreign news agency from an undisclosed location that the brutal strike was a conspiracy of foreign secret agencies.
“We are not responsible for these attacks, this is a conspiracy by foreign secret agencies, you know we do not attack public places,” Tariq said.
“We condemn this brutal act. Our target is very clear and we only attack police, Army and other security personnel,” he added.