Police report that a suicide attack carried out on the popular shrine in southern Pakistan has led to the death of at least 88 people and injured 150.
The Islamic State claimed responsibility of this attack which involved a bomber exploding himself in the midst of devotees in the shrine of Sufi saint Lal Shahbaz Qalandar.
This is the deadliest attack Pakistan has so far suffered in 2017. It is also the most recent attack on devotees of Sufism, an Islam fraction despised by radical Islamists, reports BBC.
The local police said that a large number of people were in the shrine at the time of the attack. The terrorists must have chosen Thursday as a perfect day to advance their attack, considering this is a day when many people storm the shrine for ritual dances and prayers. At such a time, maintain security of all the people getting in and out is usually a challenge.
According to Sughra Bibi, a 45-year-old woman who survived the attack with stomach wound, she was just at the crowd’s front at the time of the explosion. She said that her religious group is a target just because the terrorists dislike their shrines. “They attacked another shrine a couple of months ago. But we will never give up our faith.”
According to Tanveer Ali, the culprits committed sin for they acted against Islam ideologies by targeting civilians. His wife and son got injured in the attack. “The terrorists will have to answer for this on the Day of Judgment,” he said.
One witness, Raja Somro, spoke to the local news outlets, explaining that the dancers were in the process of conducting the spiritual dance called dhamal when the explosion happened. He says he saw bodies of women and children scattered all over.
Medical services were limited as the local hospital lacked the required beds and drugs to cope with the sudden incident. This prompted some of the victims to be sent to Hyderabad, which is 90 miles away.
The attack has been condemned by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.
Return of violence
Pakistan has had a couple of years of diminished violence, an occurrence attributed to the June 2014 operation. But now it seems the trail is slowly returning.
The most recent back-to-back attacks have resulted in more than 100 people being killed by suicide bombers.
There have been some spectacular, though sporadic, attacks in recent months that have exacted a significant toll on human life.
This latest attack is the worst so far, even as reports emerge that some powerful Pakistani Taliban groups are reuniting. Most of these groups have been associated with the Afghanistan-Pakistan ISIS.
The country’s PM has vowed that he will do all it takes to eliminate the anti-Pakistani militants.
“The past few days have been hard, and my heart is with the victims,” he said in a statement.
He urged the citizens to remain united and unshaken.
Pakistan officials have also cast blame on India for having helped forge trouble in the country. However, some believe the militancy will remain intact because some militants are selectively tolerated as a way of covering up for some covert wars.