Pakistan suicide blast: Sufi shrine Lal Shahbaz Qalandar shrine attack kills 72; Twitter erupts in anger, shock

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New Delhi | Updated: February 17, 2017 6:39:04 AM

The shrine belongs to a religious minority in Pakistan and was crowded at the time of the attack to watch the Sufi ritual ‘Dhamal’

Lal Shahbaz Qalandar, Pakistan, Inter Services Public Relations, Sufi shrine, KarachiA huge blast at Sufi shrine Lal Shahbaz Qalandar in Sehwan Sharif, located 200 kms northeast of Karachi in southern Pakistan, today killed at least 72 people and injured 150 – the dead includes 12 women and 4 children.(AP)

A huge blast at Sufi shrine Lal Shahbaz Qalandar in Sehwan Sharif, located 200 kms northeast of Karachi in southern Pakistan, today killed at least 72 people and injured 150 – the dead includes 12 women and 4 children. The shrine belongs to a religious minority in Pakistan and was crowded at the time of the attack to watch the Sufi ritual ‘Dhamal’ – the bomber had first walked into the middle of the gathering, threw a grenade and then detonated the bomb. The man has not yet been identified. The death toll is expected to rise as many of the injured are in a critical condition and medical aid was late in arriving as the place is far and the best medical facilities are not available in nearby hospitals. Reacting to the shocking news, Pakistan prime minister Nawaz Sharif said, “My heart is with the victims. 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.” The Pakistani army chief was quoted as saying by Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR) Director Major General Asif Ghafoor on Twitter: “Each drop of the nation’s blood shall be revenged, and revenged immediately. No more restraint for anyone”. They were not the only one to react. Twitter exploded in fury against the carnage and expressed their condolences as well as vented their frustration on the social media.

Check out the reactions below:

The attack on the shrines of Lal Shahbaz Qalandar represents an attack on the progressive, inclusive future of Pakistan: PM Nawaz Sharif

Devotees gather at the shrine of Lal Shahbaz Qalandar, a Sufi philosopher-poet of present-day Afghanistan and Pakistan, every Thursday to participate in a dhamaal and prayers.

Television footage from the famous Lal Shahbaz Qalandar shrine in the town of Sehwan Sharif showed army and paramilitary medical teams reaching the site and injured people being taken to nearby hospitals in ambulances and a military helicopter.

The attack comes as the Pakistani Taliban and rival Islamist militant groups carry out their threats of a new offensive.
The violence has shattered a period of improving security, underscoring how militants still undermine stability in the nuclear-armed country of 190 million people.

The high death toll at the shrine makes it one of the worst attacks in Pakistan in recent years. In August last year, at least 74 people, mostly lawyers, were killed in a suicide bombing of a hospital in the southwestern city of Quetta.

In November, an explosion claimed by Islamic State ripped through a Muslim shrine in southwestern Pakistan, killing at least 52 people and wounding scores.

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