ISLAMABAD: A suicide attack near an Imambargah on Misrial Road in Rawalpindi on Wednesday has left at least 12 people dead and 36 others injured, DawnNews reported.
Police officials said that a suicide bomber had tried to enter a procession near the Imambargah, where the bomber detonated the explosives after being stopped by security forces.
The injured have been taken to a nearby hospital. However, due to area being heavily populated, rescue workers were reported to be having difficulties.
The bodies of five people killed in the blast have been taken to the DHQ Hospital Rawalpindi.
The Misrial Road area was put on high alert by the authorities during the Muslim holy month of Muharram.
Electricity within the vicinity of the area in which the explosion took place has reportedly gone.
Emergency has been declared at all hospitals of the city. The army along with the police and other security agencies have cordoned off the area.
The violence erupted a day before Pakistan hosts a summit of developing nations attended by the leaders of Iran, Egypt, Turkey, Indonesia and other countries. Some of the presidents have already arrived.
Interior Minister Rehman Malik said the attacks were designed to create the impression that the government is incapable of providing adequate security for the summit.
“We are trying to build relationships, get investment in Pakistan and these groups are trying to derail the process,” he told Reuters.
Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf has strongly condemned the bombing. In an official statement the prime minister said that the country was united and would never submit to terrorism.
He also said that those injured in the blast be provided with the best medical attention.
President Asif Zardari, Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif, MQM chief Altaf Hussain and Governor Sindh Dr Ishratul Ibad have also strongly condemned the attack.
This is a developing story and will be updated accordingly.