100 killed as blast rips Pak Sufi shrine
Karachi: Nearly 100 people were killed and several injured February 16 night when an Islamic State suicide bomber blew himself up inside a Sufi shrine in Sehwan, some 200 km northeast of Karachi, a port city in Pakistan.
A suicide bomber detonated explosives at the crowded shrine of revered Sufi Lal Shahbaz Qalandar.
This was the latest in a string of deadly blasts Pakistan witnessed mid-February.
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif immediately condemned the attack. In his statement, he decried the attack and vowed to fight Islamist terrorists who target the government and anyone who does not adhere to their strict interpretation of Sunni Islam.
“The past few days have been hard, and my heart is with the victims,” Sharif said. “But we can’t let these events divide us, or scare us. We must stand united in this struggle for the Pakistani identity, and universal humanity.”
ISIS claimed responsibility for the suicide bombing, the group’s affiliated news agency AMAQ reported.
The bomber entered the shrine through its Golden gate and blew himself up near the site where the ritual of sufi dance ‘Dhamal’ was taking place. A police officer said the attacker first threw a grenade to cause panic.
Sehwan police station officer Rasool Baksh told reporters that around 100 people, including women and children, have been killed in the suicide bomb attack.
Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah said that the Pakistan army had been requested to provide night flying helicopters to shift the dead and injured.
“Yes it is a tragic incident and because the shrine is away from a major city there have been problems in providing rescue operations,” he said.
The army said a C130 aircraft will be used to lift the injured from Nawabshah.
Television channels reported that dead bodies and injured were lying inside the shrine.
Pakistan witnessed mid –February fresh wave of terror attacks. It started when a suicide bomber attacked a protest rally outside the Punjab assembly in Lahore on February 13 killing 14 people and injuring dozens.
On the same day, a terrorist attack was foiled in Quetta but two officials of the Bomb Disposal Squad were killed diffusing a bomb under a bridge in Quetta.
Terrorists also carried out attacks in Mohmand agency and Peshawar followed by today’s blast in Sindh.
The latest attack on shrine came a day after Pakistan vowed to “liquidate” all those elements posing a threat to peace and security in the country amid a spurt