Dhaka, 16 Feb, Abnews: At least 70 people were killed and more than 150 injured in a suicide attack on the shrine of Lal Shahbaz Qalandar in Sehwan on Thursday evening.
“So far 70 people have been killed and more than 150 wounded,” Inspector General Police Sindh A.D. Khawaja said.
“Many of the wounded are in critical condition and they will be shifted to Karachi as soon as navy helicopters and C-130 plane reach the nearest airport."
Deputy Commissioner Munawar Maheesar confirmed the dead included at least four children and 12 women.
The Assistant Superintendent of Police in Sehwan said a suicide bomber entered the shrine through its Golden gate. The attacker blew himself up after throwing a grenade, which failed to explode, he added.
Read: Military on Sehwan attack: 'Pakistan will respond to terrorist attacks from hostile powers'
The explosion took place in the area where the dhamaal (a Sufi ritual) was being performed after evening prayers.
A large number of devotees, from different faiths and from across the country, frequent the shrine on Thursdays — a day of spiritual significance in Pakistan's shrine culture.
Security for shrines was tightened across the province following the attack.
Armed forces aid in rescue efforts
Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa, following the attack, directed that immediate assistance be provided to civil authorities. Army contingents were dispatched along with medical personnel. Combined Military Hospital Hyderabad was also alerted to receive casualties.
A Pakistan Air Force (PAF) C-130 aircraft was tasked to airlift the injured from Nawabshah airport, while a navy helicopter was also tasked to airlift the injured from Sehwan and its surrounding areas, the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) said.
The ISPR added that the armed forces placed all required resources to facilitate the rescue effort. Pakistan Army and Rangers assisted with rescue efforts at the site.
The chief of naval staff placed all navy hospitals in Karachi on high alert.
Chief Minister Sindh Syed Murad Ali Shah had directed all rescue teams to reach the spot of the attack.
“Doctors from Jamshoro, Nawabshah and Hyderabad were sent to Sehwan,” Shah told DawnNews. He also said security has been tightened at all shrines across the province.
Sehwan is Shah's constituency.
Resurgence in terror attacks
Pakistan seems to be experiencing a fresh resurgence in terror attacks.
Earlier today, an explosive device had targeted an Army convoy in the Awaran area of Balochistan, killing three soldiers.
On Feb 15, a suicide bomber struck in Mohmand, killing three personnel of the Khasadar force and five civilians. The attack was claimed by Tehreek-i-Taliban (TTP)
The same day, a suicide bomber rammed his motorcycle into a vehicle carrying judges in Peshawar's Hayatabad Phase 5 area, killing the driver and injuring its four other occupants. The attack was claimed by the TTP too.
On Feb 13, a suicide bomber had struck a protest on Lahore's Charing Cross interchange, killing 13 and injuring 85. The attack had happened right outside the gates of Punjab's Provincial Assembly.
The attack was claimed by the Jamat-ul-Ahrar.
On the same day, two personnel of Balochistan's bomb disposal squad were killed as they attempted to defuse an explosive device planted under the Sariab Road bridge in Quetta, the provincial capital.
The last attack on a shrine of a Sufi mystic took place on November 12, 2016, when a suicide bomber struck the shrine of Shah Norani in the Khuzdar district of Balochistan, where at least 52 people were killed and 102 were injured.
The explosion had also taken place at a spot inside the Shah Noorani shrine where the dhamaal was being performed. At the time of the blast, there were at least 500 people gathered at the spot to observe the ritual.____Dawn