Punjab Law Minister Rana Sanaullah said on Friday that the blast in Lahore’s DHA area a day earlier was not an act of terror but an “accident”, as forensic samples collected from the site had shown that the blast was a cylinder explosion.
Six samples collected from the building where the blast that killed 10 people took place did not contain traces of explosives, he told a news conference, quoting a forensics laboratory report.
“Yesterday’s explosion was an accident and not a terrorist or explosives blast,” he said.
He said the collected samples had hinted at a gas leakage and shown presence of cylinders in the building.
“We will take strict action against authorities involved in making substandard cylinders that led to this explosion,” he said.
Explaining the delay in determining the nature of the blast, he said due to the extensive damage caused by the blast, the forensics team could not collect samples from the site until the debris had been cleared, which took some time.
The assessment of samples at forensics laboratory requires around 6-8 hours, he said.
The minister regretted that some TV channels had given the DHA blast spin of a terrorism incident and later ran news of another blast that caused “fear and panic” among the citizens.
Answering a question, Sanaullah said the decision about whether the Pakistan Super League (PSL) final will be held in Lahore or not will be shared with the public today.
He said Chief Minister Punjab Shahbaz Sharif was meant to chair a meeting on the PSL final on Thursday but it could not be held due to the DHA incident.
Thursdayâ€™s blast at an under-construction cafe in the Defence Housing Authority areaâ€™s Z Block killed its owner Moazam Paracha, who was also chief executive officer of telecom company Airlink. Sanaullah said the blast had killed seven people and injured 35 others.
The explosion, which was given a mysterious touch by an unending variety of explanations from police officers, partially damaged some nearby buildings. Some vehicles and motorbikes parked in the immediate surroundings were also damaged.
According to witnesses, the explosion was followed by a storm of dust and panic in the vicinity.
There were conflicting reports about the nature of the blast from the beginning. It was by turns termed a cylinder blast and a time bomb. Later in the day, some police officers returned to the original claim that it was a cylinder explosion. One officer said the material that exploded might have been stored in the building, as opposed to some individual terrorist or a network planting it there.