Plainclothes Pakistani officials check site of a bomb explosion outside the shrine of Kaka Sahib in Nowshehra on Sunday. – Photo by AP

NOWSHERA: A bomb attack on the shrine of Sufi saint Hazrat Kaka Saheb on the second day of Eidul Azha, leaving four people dead and 32 others wounded, drew widespread condemnation in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

Sources said 16 suspects had been arrested during a search operation launched after the blast. But police officials did not confirm any arrest.

Hundreds of followers of the Sufi saint demonstrated in protest against the desecration of the shrine and condemned the incident. Former amir of Jamaat-i-Islami Qazi Hussain Ahmad, PPP’s Mian Yahya Shah, ANP’s Shahid Khan Khattak, PTI’s Mian Jamsahid Uddin and Mian Adnan Shah of JUI-F attended a procession which was brought out from Ziarat Kaka Saheb.

The protesters raised slogans against the government and blocked the GT Road for about one hour.

Addressing the rally, patron-in-chief of Kakakhel Mian Feroz Jamal warned that people would retaliate if militants did not desist from disgracing shrines. “We cannot tolerate the disgracing of religious and holy places. It may be Taliban, Americans or Jews, but we warn them against bombing shrines.”

Qazi Hussain condemned the blast and termed it a conspiracy of anti-Islam elements. He urged the Muslims to shun their differences and forge unity in their ranks to fight anti-Islam forces.

AFP adds: The explosion took place near the main gate of the Kaka Saheb shrine when people were visiting it on the second day of Eid. However, no major damage was caused to the shrine.

Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Information Minister Mian Iftikhar Hussain said: “According to our initial information it was a remote-controlled bomb, but we are waiting for a final report from bomb disposal officials.”

There was no immediate claim of responsibility, but Taliban and Al Qaeda linked militants have frequently targeted shrines.

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