More than 100 people injured as explosion hits city at heart of prime minister Sharif’s political stronghold of Punjab.

By Nerti U. Qatja@VOP_Today – Source: The Guardian

An apparent suicide bomber has killed at least 38 people outside a public park in the Pakistani city of Lahore, rescue officials have said.

The blast in the parking area of Gulshan-e-Iqbal Park on Sunday happened just outside the exit gate and feet away from children’s swings. Officials said most of the victims were women and children.

The park was particularly busy on Sunday evening due to the Easter holiday weekend.

“At least 38 people were killed and more than 100 are injured,” Mustansar Feroz, police superintendent for the area, told Reuters. “Most of the dead and injured are women and children.”

The explosion in the eastern city happened in prime minister Nawaz Sharif’s political heartland of Punjab. Pakistan, a nuclear-armed nation of 190 million people, is plagued by a Taliban insurgency, criminal gangs and sectarian violence. Punjab is its biggest and wealthiest province.

In 2014, Pakistan launched an offensive against Taliban and affiliated jihadi fighters in North Waziristan, in a bid to destroy safe havens from which to launch attacks in Pakistan and Afghanistan.

Punjab has traditionally been more peaceful than other parts of Pakistan. Sharif’s opponents have accused him of tolerating militancy in return for peace in his province, a charge he strongly denies.

Last year, a bomb killed a popular Pakistani provincial minister and at least eight others when it destroyed the minister’s home in Punjab.