LAHORE, Pakistan (AP) — Pakistan's cultural capital of Lahore on Tuesday mourned the victims of a suicide bombing the previous day that killed 13 people. Markets and businesses remained closed across much of the country's eastern Punjab province while flags at government buildings were at half-staff.
Lawyers also boycotted court proceedings in the city to protest the attack. The bombing raised concerns whether foreign players would be able to take part in the Pakistan Super League cricket final, which is to be held in Lahore next month.
A breakaway Taliban faction, the Jamaat-ul-Ahrar group, claimed responsibility for the bombing, which targeted policemen escorting a rally by pharmacists protesting amendments to a law on drug pricing.
Security officials said they were looking into whether the bombing sought to derail foreign players from participating in the March 5 cricket final of the Pakistan Super League, due in Lahore. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss the investigation. Lahore, a historic cultural and regional center, is about 350 kilometers (137 miles) southwest of the capital, Islamabad.
Mourners attended funerals for the victims, including 23-year Fatima Jamshed, who had gone out shopping for her wedding. She was passing by the pharmacists' rally and was killed in the explosion.
Ghulam Abbas, the father of another victim, Ali Hassan, said his son went out shopping but his body came back in a coffin.
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, who was in Lahore in a gesture of support for the victims' families, visited the home of a slain police officer to offer his condolences. Seven of the 13 killed were policemen while the rest were civilians.
The Pakistani military said army chief, Gen. Qamar Javed Bajwa, visited the wounded and families of the victims. It said several suspects were arrested late Monday over the bombing, including an unspecified number of Afghans. The statement did not elaborate.