A powerful blast outside a famous Sufi shrine in Pakistan's second largest Lahore city on Wednesday killed at least eight persons, including 3 Elite Forces officials and a security guard according to Dawn, and injured around 25 others as the country marks the fasting month of Ramzan, police said.
The blast targeted a van carrying police officers outside the Data Darbar shrine, the largest Sufi shrine in South Asia.
According to initial police reports, the explosion took place close to two police vehicles near Gate 2 of Data Darbar in Punjab province.
Three police officials died in the blast, a security guard and a resident were also among the dead, Deputy Inspector General Operations Lahore Ashfaq Ahmad Khan was quoted as saying by the Geo News.
The wounded have been shifted to the Mayo Hospital, Dawn News reported.
At least 24 people are being treated for injuries, some of whom are in critical condition, he added.
As the impact of the blast caused the glass from windows and mirrors in nearby vehicles and buildings to shatter and terrified bystanders tried to shield themselves from the impact of the blast by lying on the ground for cover, reported by DawnNewsTV.
The Punjab Police spokesperson and the Deputy Commissioner of Lahore say that the attack was a suicide bombing.
Police have cordoned off the area and ascertaining the nature of the blast.
A police official said their teams are working on evaluating the incident.
"All departments, including the Counter Terrorism Department are working. We will not spare any efforts for the security of the citizens," he added.
Prime Minister Imran Khan has strongly denounced the blast outside Data Darbar in Lahore and sought a report from the authorities, Radio Pakistan reported.
The premier has commiserated with the bereaved families and directed authorities concerned to provide best possible medical treatment to those injured in the blast.
Entry to the Data Darbar was sealed in the aftermath of the blast.
The shrine is visited by hundreds of thousands of people each year.
In 2010, the shrine was targeted in a suicide attack that killed more than 40 people and is guarded by heavy security.