Quetta—At least 45 persons, including women and children, were killed and 100 injured in a bomb blast at the courtyard of Shah Noorani shrine located in the mountainous area of Balochistan on Saturday evening.
According to Balochistan Home Minister Mir Sarfaraz Bugti, the explosion took place when the devotees were engaged in ‘dhamal’, a traditional folk dance.
He said ambulances and rescue teams from Lasbela and Hub rushed to Shah Noorani.
“It takes some three hours from Hub to reach the Shah Noorani shrine, which is located in difficult mountainous area, where mobile phone service also does not work,” he added. He said helicopter ambulance could not be used because of darkness.
Tehsildar of the area, Javed Iqbal said over 1,000 people from different parts of the country, especially Karachi, were present at the courtyard of the shrine when the explosion occurred. He said the dead and the injured were being transported in private and Levies Force vehicles to hospitals in Hub and Karachi.
In charge Eidhi Foundation Hub Dr Hukam Lasi said 10 ambulances of Eidhi Ambulance Service along with doctors had been sent to the blast site. Shrine’s caretaker (Khlifa) Nawaz Ali said usually 1,000 to 1,500 people visited Shah Norani shrine on Satur-days to witness traditional ‘dhamal’ dance.
No group has taken responsibility of the attack. Security forces reached the spot of the incident and established a cordon around it. Emergency services faced difficulty in reaching the site of the bombing due to its remote location and poor communication infrastructure.
The shrine is also located in hilly terrain, which further added to the difficulties faced by emergency services. Electricity services were disrupted following the explosion, hampering rescue efforts further. Electric power to the shrine is supplied with generators.
A control room was also established in Quetta to coordinate rescue efforts. On orders from the Chief of Army Staff General Raheel Sharif, army troops and medical teams were dispatched to the Shah Noorani shrine to provide medical and rescue services to the injured, said a tweet from the Inter-Services Public relations. Army medical teams treated the wounded at the location.