Twenty people were killed and more than 150 injured in a failed attacked on the offices of the ISI in Faisalabad on Tuesday morning. The bomb instead went off near a CNG station in the busy industrial city of Punjab province.
Police warned that the death toll could climb overnight. The bomb, which was planted in a car, went off near the CNG station. The station was located near a ticketing office of the Pakistan International Airlines and also a regional office of a "sensitive intelligence agency", said police chief Aftab Cheema.
The "sensitive office" was saved as the bomb may have gone off earlier than expected, he said. The blast set off gas cylinders at the station and the explosion destroyed and damaged buildings and numerous vehicles nearby.
District Administration official Naseem Sadiq said that the incident was a terrorist attack although it is yet to be confirmed what material was used in the attack.
Witnesses told local media that it was a deafening blast. "I thought the ground had been jolted by an earthquake...I saw injured people and dead bodies scattered here and there," said one man. Television pictures showed the station had been reduced to a pile of bricks as rescue officials worked to retrieve bodies from the scene and search for survivors.
After a lull in bombings and attacks in the past month, observers say that militants have once again stepped up their targeting of military personnel and installations. This is the first such major attack in Faisalabad, they said.