Death toll in shrine blast rises to 49

April 04, 2011


The Sufi shrine which was attacked by suicide bomb attacks in Dera Ghazi Khan district, April 3, 2011. — Photo by Reuters

DERA GHAZI KHAN: The death toll in the suicide blasts outside the shrine of Syed Ahmad Sakhi Sarwar rose to at least 49 on Monday, DawnNews reported.

The blasts occurred on Sunday during the 942nd Urs and left more than 100 people injured, police and hospital sources said.

Police claimed to have prevented a third blast and arrested a bomber who could blow himself up only partially.

The blasts took place when hundreds of devotees from various parts of the country had thronged the shrine to attend the weeks-long Urs-cum-spring festivities in the remote town of Sakhi Sarwar, 35 kilometres from Dera Ghazi Khan city. The two dead included women and children. The defunct Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan claimed responsibility for the attack.

Sufi worshippers, who follow a mystical strain of Islam, have increasingly been the target of bloody attacks by militants in Pakistan.

Two suicide bombers blew themselves up among crowds of worshippers at Pakistan's most popular Sufi site, the Data Darbar shrine in Lahore, in July last year, killing 42 people.

On October 7, two suicide bombers blew themselves up at a Sufi shrine of Abdullah Shah Ghazi in Karachi, killing nine worshippers, including two children.

Also in October, a bomb blast outside the country's second most popular Sufi shrine, dedicated to the 12th century saint Baba Farid, also known as Ganjshakar, in the Punjab town of Pakpattan killed four people.

Nearly 4,200 people have been killed in suicide attacks and bomb explosions, blamed on home-grown Taliban and other extremist networks, since 2007.

Sunday's attack is the fifth in as many days.

Six people including a Baloch tribal elder were killed by a remote-controlled bomb in the southwestern province of Balochistan on Thursday.

Also Thursday, a suicide bomb blast targeting an Islamic party chief killed at least 12 people in the northwestern town of Charsadda.

The previous day, another suicide attack aimed at the politician and his supporters killed 10 people in the northwestern town of Swabi.