Police said a suicide bomber entered the shrine and blew himself up after throwing a grenade. The explosion took place in the area where dhamaal (a Sufi ritual) was being performed after evening prayers. A large number of devotees, from across the country, frequent the shrine on Thursdays as it is a popular day to visit Sufi shrines
KARACHI — At least 50 people have been killed and scores injured in a suicide attack on the shrine of Lal Shahbaz Qalandar in Sehwan, in Sindh province of Pakistan on Thursday evening. There are conflicting reports about casualties. Taluka Hospital Medical Superintendent Dr Moinuddin Siddiqui has said at least 50 bodies and scores of injured have been brought to the hospital, reported Dawn newspaper.
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 said. The explosion took place in the area where dhamaal (a Sufi ritual) was being performed after evening prayers. A large number of devotees, from across the country, frequent the shrine on Thursdays as it is a popular day to visit Sufi shrines.
What we know so far
- At least 50 deaths and scores injured
- The explosion occurred in the area where the dhamaal was being performed after evening prayers
- The shrine is located slightly off the Indus Highway
- The attack is reminiscent of the suicide bombing at the Shah Norani shrine in Balochistan in November last year.
An emergency has been declared in all hospitals of the area, with the injured being shifted to Liaquat Medical Complex Jamshoro and the sub-district hospital.
Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa has directed that immediate assistance be provided to civil authorities. Army contingents have been dispatched along with medical personnel. Combined Military Hospital Hyderabad has also been alerted to receive casualties.
Chief Minister Sindh Syed Murad Ali Shah has phoned the senior civil and police officials of the district and instructed them to reach the shrine.
The chief minister said he has directed rescue teams to reach the spot of the attack.
“Doctors from Jamshoro, Nawabshah and Hyderabad have been sent to Sehwan,” added Shah. He also said security has been tightened at all shrines across the province.
Sehwan is Shah’s constituency.
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.