Amid threats of fresh attacks targeting the Pakistani media, the Asian country is carrying out extensive raids to nab terrorists responsible for Easter Sunday's bombing at a park in Lahore that killed more than 70 people and left hundreds injured.
Authorities in Pakistan have detained more than 5,000 people as part of its investigations into the blast. A majority of the suspects have been released, but around 200 are still in custody for further interrogation.
Rana Sanaullah, a state minister in Punjab, was quoted as saying that police, counter-terrorism and intelligence agents jointly conducted at least 160 raids across Pakistan since 27 March to capture militants involved in the attack. Around 5,221 people were detained on suspicion, of which 5,005 were released. He added that 216 people have been "referred for further investigation".
"If someone is found to be guilty, they will be charged," he told journalists in Lahore. Sanaullah confirmed that the army and paramilitary forces would be deployed in future operations and said, "This operation will include all law enforcement agencies."
Army spokesman General Asim Bajwa confirmed that raids were being carried out by the military and paramilitary Rangers across Punjab. "Right now in Rawalpindi, Multan and elsewhere, operations are ongoing, intelligence agencies and Rangers and army troops are carrying out operations," he was quoted as saying in Islamabad.
Meanwhile, Jamaat-ur-Ahrar, the Taliban faction that claimed responsibility for the blast, issued a new threat that the Pakistan media could be next on its hit list. "Everyone will get their turn in this war, especially the slave Pakistani media. We are just waiting for the appropriate time," Ehsanullah Ehsan, spokesman for the group tweeted. According to Reuters, Islamic State (Isis) loyalist Jamaat-ur-Ahrar has carried out five major attacks in different parts of Pakistan since December.
In a threat to the Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, Ehsan had earlier tweeted, "Let Nawaz Sharif know that this war has now come to the threshold of his home. The winners of this war will, God willing, be the righteous mujahideen."