ISLAMABAD Feb 24 Pakistani officials on Friday
said a blast that killed 10 people at a shopping centre in the
eastern city of Lahore was most probably an accident caused by a
gas leak, not a bomb, as initially described.
Panic gripped the city on Thursday after the blast at an
upscale market, which also wounded 32 people.
Soon after, a burst tyre in another commercial district
prompted police to clear the area and rumours of another blast
began to spread.
"Yesterday's blast was not an act of terrorism," Punjab Law
Minister Rana Sanaullah told reporters.
"It took place by accident. There is no evidence of
explosive materials. There were gas cylinders present at the
site and there is a strong possibility that the explosion was
caused by a gas leak."
Speaking to Reuters on Friday, Punjab government spokesman
Malik Mohammad Khan revised his statement the previous day that
the initial blast had been caused by a planted bomb.
"Confusion was caused because the evidence was buried under
the rubble, but it is now clear that this was not a bomb blast,"
Khan said. "It was a gas cylinder explosion."
The injuries suffered by victims were not consistent with a
bomb explosion, he added, while no militant group had claimed
Pakistan has been hit by a wave of militant attacks in
recent weeks that have killed at least 130 people. One attack at
a Sufi shrine in southern Sindh province killed 90 people.
(Reporting by Saad Sayeed; Editing by Clarence Fernandez)