Suicide bomber blew himself up
At least 18 people were killed and 22 injured in a suicide blast at Dargah Pir Rakhel Shah in Fatehpur, a small town in the Jhal Magsi district of Balochista.
Deputy Commissioner Asadullah Kakar confirmed the death toll and said, “A suicide bomber blew himself up after he was intercepted by police guards on duty outside the shrine”.
“The suicide bomber struck outside the shrine at a time when it was packed with people, attending anniversary celebrations of Syed Cheesal Shah,” Kakar said.
He also confirmed that one police constable was killed while attempting to stop the suicide bomber from entering the shrine.
The medical superintendent of Gandawah Hospital, Dr Rukhsana Magsi, said that 15 dead bodies were brought to the hospital.
She said that 24 injured were brought to District Headquarters Hospital Gandawah of which 18 were shifted to Quetta and Larkana for medical treatment.
Two other policemen were injured in the blast. The injured were shifted to DHQ hospital for treatment.
According to police, the suicide attacker tried to enter the shrine and blew himself up when he was stopped by the police.
The explosion, which police attributed to a suicide bomber, took place at the entrance to the dargah at a time when scores of people had gathered to pay their respects. Thursdays are usually busy in terms of attendance at shrines as the day is considered spiritually significant.
Initial reports suggested that the explosion took place when the dhamaal — a devotional dance performed at shrines — was being performed after evening prayers.
Balochistan Home Minister Sarfraz Bugti said he has received news of the blast and has instructed the authorities to respond immediately. Security forces reached the spot and cordoned the area after the incident.
Answering whether the government was aware of looming terror threats, Bugti said, “We are in a war zone. We [share] a porous border with Afghanistan. Keeping all these factors in mind, our security forces ensured a peaceful Moharram and they will continue to fight terrorism in Balochistan.”
The administration declared an emergency at hospitals in Sibbi and Dera Murad Jamali.
Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi has condemned the attack on the shrine. He said terrorists have no religion and the killers of people are enemies of the state.
The premier added that the state will respond with full force and will not allow terrorists to disturb the peace of the nation. He also ordered the best possible medical care for the injured.