SEHWAN/KARACHI: At least 74 people were martyred Thursday when a suicide bomber attacked the crowded Sufi shrine of Lal Shahbaz Qalandar in Sehwan, injuring up to 300 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.
Taluka Hospital Sehwan confirmed the death toll of 60 men, four women and six children, further adding that 36 bodies have been handed over to the heirs, while 34 were unrecognisable. The medical facility further informed that among the injured 190 men, 11 women and nine children were at its centre under treatment, while 41 wounded patients were shifted to other hospitals.
MS Peoples Medical Centre Nawabshah stated that 37 injured were at its health facility, while ten were sent to a hospital in Karachi, he informed that four bodies including of a child and woman were unidentified.
Deputy Inspector-General (DIG) Hyderabad Khadim Hussain Rind said more than 300 people were injured in the explosion, the latest in a series of terrorist attacks in the country, he further informed that the suicide blast occurred at the main gate of the shrine by a bomber who covered himself with a Burka.
In the late night development, seven critically injured patients braving head wounds arrived from C-130 jet to Karachi. According to rescue sources, the injured were immediately shifted to a private hospital. Earlier, six other patients arrived in the metropolis on self-help basis.
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.
An initial investigation report by bomb disposal squad confirmed that the incident was due to suicide bombing with the explosives of at least eight kgs. Nut-bolts were used in the bomb along with the dynamite.
A large number 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 occured after devotees had gathered inside the premises of the shrine. A high number of casualties were feared because of the crowd gathered at the shrine.
Terrorist organisation Daesh has claimed responsibility of the attack.
Meanwhile, IG Sindh AD Khuwaja said that though the terror group has claimed responsibility on social media, however, police is still investigating to confirm the responsible indivisuals or group for this terror attack.
"We have to take this news with precaution, we are looking into the case," he said.
Hours after the bombing, the ISPR announced the closure of the Pakistan-Afghanistan border with immediate effect due to security reasons.