Suspected suicide bomber kills 45 on Pakistani-Indian border

Pakistani police said they were investigating and a doctor said up to 70 people had been wounded.

A member of the Indian Border Security Force (BSF) stands guard at the Wagah India-Pakistan International Border on 2 November, 2014. Picture: AFP.

LAHORE Pakistan - At least 45 people were killed on Sunday when a suicide bomber blew himself up on the Pakistani-Indian border, police said, just after a daily ceremony when troops from both sides simultaneously lower the two nations' flags.

Hundreds of people visit the Wagah border crossing near the Pakistani city of Lahore to witness the flags of both countries being lowered just before sunset.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack, which took place on the Pakistani side of the border.

"The death toll increased to 45," the provincial police chief in the Pakistani city of Lahore told Reuters. Authorities had earlier put the death toll at 37.

Pakistani police said they were investigating and a doctor said up to 70 people had been wounded.

"According to initial information it was a suicide attack," Inspector General of Punjab Police, Mushtaq Sukhera, told local television channels.

"When ... security was a bit relaxed, the suicide attacker blew himself up near a restaurant."

India and Pakistan have fought three wars and remain locked in a bitter conflict over the region of Kashmir, which both sides claim.

India accuses Pakistan of sponsoring jihadist groups in the region and encouraging them to make inroads into Indian territory to stage attacks against Indian forces, a charge Pakistan denies.

"I was sitting in my office near the border when I heard the blast. I rushed to the scene and saw scattered bodies, injured men, women and children and smashed cars," a Pakistani intelligence source told Reuters.

Media reports earlier said the explosion was caused by a gas cylinder.

Ashok Kumar, inspector general of India's Border Security Force guarding Wagah, said the blast had taken place 500 meters from the border at around 6:15pm local time.

"Our side is safe. We are alert, have increased our security, we are in constant touch with district officials and state police," he said.

Any explosion on the India-Pakistan border is far more serious than a similar event on the Pakistan-Afghan border, another Indian security official said. He said there had not been any major attack in Pakistani Punjab in recent months.