Reports released on May 7 indicated that Pakistani intelligence sounded alarm bells of a possible attack in Punjab Province. Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), known as the Pakistani Taliban, has reportedly dispatched two of its militants to the province for an attack, possibly against a perceived high value target. Security forces are on the look out for a black SUV, possibly with a government license plate. In response, the city of Lahore is examining security protocols, with special focus on preventing the said militants from infiltrating.
TTP attacks are a daily threat in Pakistan, including in major cities such as Lahore. Their war against the state has resulted in constant combat in the northwest tribal regions. Islamabad is amidst ongoing campaigns in various zones of the restive region in an effort to take territory from TTP affiliated factions, prevent their use of the porous Afghan border, and reduce their ability to launch attacks into the Pakistani heartland.
To that point, TTP has launched numerous attacks in major Pakistani cities, in addition to engaging the Pakistani military and its allies in the tribal areas. Asymmetric attacks have largely targeted under protected locales, such as religious minorities and schools, in addition to more hard targets, like security forces and government interests in the cities. In this regard, and given the nature of the warning, authorities in Punjab are likely on guard for a suicide car bombing. There are likely concerns that the attackers may aim for an assassination of a high-value target, whether it be a certain party politician or government official. For instance, in late April, Pakistan’s former interior minister was the target of a suicide bomber near Peshawar. It was the fourth time he survived an assassination.