RAWALPINDI, Feb 28: A suicide bomber was killed and four worshippers were injured in an attack on an imambargah here on Saturday evening.

According to an eyewitness, Syed Ejaz Hussain, a young man in his mid-20s with short beard came to imambargah Yadgar-i-Hussaini in Satellite Town during Maghrib prayers and joined the congregation. In the second Rakat, the attacker detonated the bomb wrapped around his body.

"There was big explosion in the prayer hall of the imambargah and at first our reaction was that someone had thrown some explosive from outside, therefore, all of us ran out," Mr Hussain said.

There were more than 40 worshippers in the imambargah at the time of the attack.

However, fortunately enough there were neither major casualties nor any damage was caused to the imambargah's building.

It was the first sectarian suicide attack in the city. The government had taken special measures for maintaining peace during Muharram and had called out army to assist the civil administration in this regard.

Another eyewitness, describing the attacker, said he had fair complexion and was apparently of Afghan origin. "He was new in the locality and none of us had seen him earlier here," he added. The suicide bomber was wearing dark coloured clothes.

The imambargah has a heavy security cordon around it, including barriers to stop sectarian attacks. However, the bomber managed to sneak through.

A member of the imambargah administration told Dawn that the people responsible for security were a bit relaxed as they were getting ready for the prayer due to which the attacker managed to enter the imambargah with the bomb wrapped around his body.

Acting district Nazim Raja Javed Ikhlas, who rushed to the place of incident immediately after the attack, told Dawn that the district government would revise its existing security arrangements for imambargahs and mosques in the light of the attack. Replying to a question if he considered it as a security lapse, Mr Ikhlas said it was certainly one, but truly no one was ever expecting it.

Appealing for calm, he said the administration would leave no stone unturned in its efforts for providing a secure environment to worshippers.

Satellite Town Nazim Mian Imran Hayat regretted the incident as unfortunate.



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