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Video and music shops damaged in Lahore bombings

(PPF/IFEX) - Five people were injured and two music and video shops were damaged in two low-intensity explosions in Lahore, Pakistan's second largest city, on Saturday, June 26, 2010.

The two blasts, which took place 10 minutes apart, triggered panic among shopkeepers and customers, who ran for their lives. Civil Lines Superintendent of Police (SP) Dr. Haider Ashraf said the first explosion took place on the first floor of Zaitoon Plaza at about 6:40 pm. The second blast was less powerful than the first one, he said.

Five people - two salespersons, Muhammad Atif and Muhammad Ashiq, and three others, Ali Zaib, Muhammad Yaqoob and Usman Iqbal - received minor injuries when pieces of shattered windowpanes hit them. The injured individuals were taken to Mayo Hospital and discharged late at night.

A previously unknown group calling itself the "Nazria Pakistan Group" claimed responsibility for carrying out the blasts and called on CD traders to stop doing business.

The president of the Hall Road Traders' Association told journalists that traders had informed him that they had received threatening phone calls and text messages from unknown militants and had been asked to stop their music and video businesses. He said that he had informed the police about these threats. The callers had asked shopkeepers to stop selling Western movies and "objectionable CDs", describing it as a "dirty business". According to a local trader, there were almost 200 music and video shops in the market and the blasts occurred in front of these shops.

Police believe extremists who had previously targeted some cultural events in the city had carried out the explosions. They said the blasts were aimed at creating fear among people who were associated with cultural activities and businesses. A criminal complaint has been lodged against unidentified people on behalf of the state.

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