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Nawaz Sharif cancels US visit due to Lahore attack

world Updated: Mar 29, 2016 01:55 IST
Nawaz Sharif

An handout picture released by the Pakistan Press Information Department (PID) on March 28, 2016, shows Pakistan's Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif addressing the nation at his office in Islamabad.(AP Photo)

Pakistan prime minister Nawaz Sharif on Monday cancelled his upcoming visit to the US where he was scheduled to attend the Nuclear Security Summit later this week in the backdrop of the deadly terror attack in Lahore.

“In view of the terrorist attack in Lahore, which took a heavy toll on the lives of innocent citizens of Pakistan and caused injuries to scores of people, the Prime Minister has decided to cancel his visit to Washington to attend the Nuclear Security Summit,” the Foreign Office said in a statement.

Sharif was due to visit Washington to participate in the fourth Nuclear Security Summit (NSS) on March 31 hosted by US President Barack Obama.

The statement said that Pakistan’s delegation to the NSS will now be led by Syed Tariq Fatemi, the Minister of State and Special Assistant to the Prime Minister.

According to media reports, Sharif and Prime Minister Narendra Modi were likely to meet on the sidelines of the Summit.

At least 72 people, including 29 children, were killed and 233 were injured in a blast near Gulshan-e-Iqbal Park in Lahore on Easter Sunday.

A faction of the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), Jamaatul Ahrar, claimed responsibility for the deadly suicide attack, saying Christians were their target.

Earlier in the day, Sharif cancelled his trip to UK, citing the terror attack in Lahore.

Prime Minister Sharif spent the entire day today in Lahore condoling with the bereaved families, as well as visiting the hospitals to meet those injured in the attack, the statement said.

He expressed solidarity with the victims’ families and reassured that the perpetrators behind the heinous attack would be brought to justice, it added.

Sharif also underscored that such incidents further strengthen his government’s resolve to eradicate the menace of terrorism from its roots.