Karachi | At least 30 people, including women and children, were killed and more than 100 others injured today in a suicide attack carried out by a 14-year-old boy at a popular sufi shrine in Pakistan’s restive Balochistan province.
Some media reports put the death toll at 40 in the blast that occurred in the remote Hub region in Lasbela district where devotees were attending a Sufi dance called “dhamaal” at Dargah Shah Noorani shrine.
The target of the attack was an area where believers would perform ‘dhamaal’. The blast site is situated some 250km away from Karachi.
Balochistan Interior Minister Mir Sarfaraz Bugti confirmed the blast which happened when about 500 to 600 devotees were present at shrine.
“30 people have been killed and 100 injured in the blast including women and children,” said Tehsildar Javed Iqbal.
However, the Express Tribune reported that at least 40 people were killed in the blast.
It cited police sources as saying that the blast was a suicide attack carried out by a 14-year-old boy. No group has claimed responsibility for the attack.
Rescue teams had reached the blast site and started shifting the deceased and injured to the hospital. However, rescuers were facing difficulty in accessing the site as the shrine is located in a remote area.
The death toll is feared to rise with women and children casulaties in the deadly blast.
“The shrine is located some 250 kilometres from Karachi in the remote mountains of Uthal and our vehicles have been dispatched there to carry out rescue operations and shift the injured to the hospitals,” said Hakeen Lassi, an official of the Edhi Trust Foundation.
Local tehsildar Iqbal said security arrangements at the shrine were not proper.
“It is sad that although thousands of devotees from Karachi and other parts of the country visit the shrine everyday but there are no medical emergencies or ambulances at the site,” he said.
He said the devotees take part in the ‘dhamaal’ everyday after sunset and the blast took place close to where they were dancing inside the compound of the shrine.
President Mamnoon Hussain and Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif have strongly condemned the bomb blast. They directed the concerned authorities to speed up the rescue activities and provide best medical facilities to the injured.
This is not the first time that extremists have targeted a shrine in Balochistan. This is the third major incident of a bombing in the province since August.
In August, about 70 people were killed in a suicide bomb attack outside the civil hospital in the provincial capital Quetta. Last month, 64 police cadets and two army men were killed when three terrorists raided a police training centre in Quetta.