The Indian security establishment received intelligence inputs suggesting that the flag-lowering ceremony at the Wagah border may be targeted, multiple sources told HT. The ceremony will remain suspended for three days.
“At the request of Pakistan Rangers, the flag lowering ceremony that takes place every evening at Wagah border has been called off for three days at least,” said BSF chief DK Pathak, adding that the ceremony may be postponed further if the situation warrants.
At least 55 people were killed when in a suspected suicide bomb attack on the Pakistan side on Sunday evening, minutes after the flag-lowering ceremony.
“India’s external intelligence agency, the Research and Analysis Wing (R&AW) had got intelligence inputs some 15 days back indicating that the flag-lowering might be targeted by the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) which has suffered reverses in the last few weeks due to Pakistani Army’s campaign in tribal areas bordering Afghanistan. After that the Border Security Force, which participates in the flag-lowering ceremony with Pakistani Rangers, was put on high alert and a vigil was being kept by the force,” said a home ministry official.
BSF sources confirmed that the intelligence input was shared among all stakeholders including the Intelligence Bureau, Punjab police and the army.
“We have increased patrolling all along the India-Pakistan border and the forces have been asked to remain in high-alert due to the attack,” added the official.
Sources added that since there is no established intelligence sharing mechanism between India and Pakistan, the information about the flag-lowering being a target could not be shared with the neighbouring country.