SEHWAN: At least 72 people were martyred Thursday when a suicide bomber attacked the crowded Sufi shrine of Lal Shahbaz Qalandar in Sehwan, injuring up to 250 others, hospital and senior police officials said. The powerful blast took place inside the premises of the shrine as a dhamaal was taking place, with a large number of women and children said to be among the casualties. “At least 72 are dead and over 150 have been injured,” senior police officer Shabbir Sethar, adding that the death toll was likely to rise. Faisal Edhi, the head of Edhi foundation confirmed the death toll. “43 men, nine women and 20 children are among the dead,” he said. Meanwhile, Inspector-General Sindh Police AD Khawaja said 70 people were martyed.
Deputy Inspector-General (DIG) Hyderabad Khadim Hussain Rind said as many as 250 people were injured in the explosion, the latest in a series of terrorist attacks in the country. Officials confirmed the suicide bombing took place inside the complex of the shrine, with eyewitnesses saying the explosion caused people to panic and triggered a stampede inside the crowded shrine. Large crowds of people from different parts of the province were gathered at the shrine when the blast took place. Devotees throng to the shrine of the revered Sufi saint every Thursday to participate in a dhamaal and prayers. According to reports, the explosion took place after devotees had gathered inside the premises of the shrine. A high number of casualties were feared because of the crowd of people gathered at the shrine. Terrorist organisation Daesh has claimed responsibility of the attack.
Nation’s blood to be revenged immediately: COAS
In a statement issued shortly after the terrorist attack, Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa appealed to the nation to stay calm. “Your security forces shall not allow hostile powers to succeed. We stand for our nation,” he said in a statement tweeted out by DG ISPR Major General Asif Ghafoor. “Each drop of nation’s blood shall be revenged, and revenged immediately. No more restraint for anyone,” said the Army chief.
#COAS, “Each drop of nation’s blood shall be revenged, and revenged immediately. No more restraint for anyone.”
— Maj Gen Asif Ghafoor (@OfficialDGISPR) February 16, 2017
‘Attack on Pakistan’s future’
In a statement, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif decried the attack on the Sufi shrine. “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.” “Sufi saints played a major role in the foundation of Pakistan,” the prime minister said. “This is an attack on Pakistan’s future.”