Hindu Vivek Kendra
«« Back

Powerful bomb attack in Pak Shia mosque kills at least 61

Author: PTI
Publication: The Indian Express
Date: January 31, 2015

Introduction: Jundullah militant group claims responsibility, over 55 injured

At least 61 people, including children, were killed on Friday in a suicide bombing during Friday prayers at a packed minority Shia mosque in Pakistan's Sindh province, the deadliest sectarian attack to hit the country in recent times.

The explosion, carried out by Jundullah, a splinter group of Taliban, brought down the roof of Imambargah Maula Karballa in Lakhi Dar area of Shikarpur -- around 470 kilometres north of here -- and buried worshippers. Health Minister of the Sindh Province Jam Mehtab Dahar said the death toll in the blast had gone up to 61. Children are also said to be among the victims. Fifty Five people were injured, many critically, in the attack, officials said.

The attack took place amid Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif's ongoing visit to the port city of Karachi to review the law and order situation. During his visit, Sharif pledged to continue the war against all foreign and local terrorists in the country. Sharif condemned the blast and ordered an immediate probe.

SSP Shikarpur Saqib Ismail said initial investigations suggested it was a suicide attack as a stranger had forced his way into the Imambargah while seeking directions for a welfare hospital. "It was a high intensity explosion and caused a lot of damage with the roof completely caving in. Most of the deaths occurred because many people were trapped under the roof debris and died due to suffocation or injuries," he said.

Farhan Kazmi, an official of the social work organisation Edhi Trust, said the casualties could rise since there were around 400 people in the Imambargah when the explosion took place. "It was a makeshift Imambargah and the roof caved in immediately due to the intensity of the blast," he said.

The attack took place when worshippers had assembled for the 'Zuhr' afternoon Friday prayers. Many were trapped under the debris and hundreds of people rushed to the scene to dig out survivors. The explosion was heard several kilometers away.

Television footage showed chaotic scenes as people rushed to take the wounded for treatment using cars, motorbikes and rickshaws. Geo TV quoted DIG Shikarpur Rakhio Mirani as saying that a man brought a device inside the Imambargah and used it to detonate a bomb.

Shaharyar Mehr, member of the provincial assembly, said the death toll could be higher than 61 as there was no security around the Imambargah when the terror attack took place. "It is a bad situation as hospitals in the area also don't have the required staff or equipment to deal with such a big emergency," he said.

The Majlis Wahdatul Muslimeen, a party that emphasises on Shiite-Sunni unity in the country, announced to observe a peaceful strike across Sindh in the wake of the terrorist attack and three days of mourning. The blast is the latest in a rising tide of sectarian violence blighting Pakistan, where radical Sunni Muslim groups often target Shia Muslims, who form about one-fifth of the 180 million-population.

Jundullah militant group -- that last year parted ways with the Taliban and announced allegiance with the Islamic State militant group -- took responsibility of the attack. "Our target were the Shia because they are our enemies," spokesman Fahad Marwat said.

Sindh Chief Minister Qaim Ali Shah announced a day of mourning for the victims of the blast.

This is Pakistan's bloodiest sectarian attack since January 22 last year in which 24 Shia pilgrims returning from Iran were killed when their bus was bombed in Balochistan. Lashkar-e-Jhangvi claimed the responsibility for that attack.

In December, the Taliban targetted an army-run school in Peshawar and killed 150 people, 132 of them children, in cold-blood.
«« Back
  Search Articles
  Special Annoucements