SUKKUR/LARKANA: A grandson of spiritual leader and custodian of Dargah Hussain Abad Syed Ghulam Hussain Shah Bukhari was killed while the spiritual leader himself and seven of his disciples suffered injuries when two bombs concealed under heaps of hay on a road exploded under his vehicle near Ahmed Din Brohi village, five kilometres from Jacobabad, on Wednesday.
The shrine custodian was leading a motorcade in his Pajero jeep and was on his way to the village to attend an annual ‘Tajdar-i-Madina conference’ when his vehicle was hit by the blasts at 1.50pm.
His grandson, Syed Shafique Hussain Shah, 17, who was in the back seat, was seriously injured and later he died in a Jacobabad hospital as the bombs had struck the vehicle’s rear and left it badly mangled.
Ghulam Hussain Shah who was in the front seat sustained minor injuries. At least seven of his disciples who were following him in the motorcade in different vehicles suffered wounds and were taken to the Jacobabad civil hospital.
The Larkana DIG who visited the blast site said that it was the first incident of its kind in the interior of Sindh. In the recent past, a similar blast had taken place at the shrine of Abdullah Shah Ghazi in Karachi, he said.
He added that the attack appeared to have been carried out on sectarian grounds, though the police were looking into other possibilities as well.
He said that Jacobabad SSP Mohammad Yunus Chandio was heading the team which was investigating the blasts.
The injured were identified as Imdad Golo (driver), Mohammad Hussain Al-Hussaini, Hafiz Bashir Ahmed Chandio, Khuda Bakhsh Manganhar, Manzoor Ahmed Deeo, Mohammad Iqbal Kato and Khalifo Bashir Ahmed Chandio.
The official in charge of the Larkana Bomb Disposal Squad, Irshad Ali Soomro, told journalists after inspecting the blast scene that the bombs were detonated through a remote-controlled device.
The bombs were made by attaching a timer device to a landmine, ball bearings and two and a half kilos of explosive material, a mixture of Russian- and Indian-made explosives, he said.
Jacobabad SSP Mohammad Younus Chandio said that police had arrested two suspects from the blast scene and were interrogating them at an undisclosed place.
Hundreds of devotees of Dargah Hussain Abad forced their way into the hospital after breaking open its gate to have a glimpse of their spiritual leader who had received minor injuries and was soon discharged.
Emotional scenes were witnessed when the devotees wept and wailed round the ambulance which was carrying the body of their spiritual leader’s grandson, Syed Shafique, to their native town, Qambar.
The ambush sparked protests and led to closure of markets in Jacobabad, Larkana, Qambar, Dadu, Khairpur, Kandhkot, Kashmore, Tangwani, Qambar, Shikarpur, Garhi Yaseen, Lakhi Ghulam Shah, Sukkur, Panu Akil, Ghotki, Khanpur Mahar, Mirpur Mathelo and several other towns in upper Sindh when the news about the blasts was aired on TV channels.
Activists of the Jamaat Ahle Sunnat held a demonstration and a sit-in at the press club in Jacobabad. The Jamaat leaders Abdul Khalique Qadri and Syed Ameer Ali Shah condemned the incident and announced a shutter-down strike in Jacobabad for three days.
They warned their protest would continue till the culprits were arrested.
In Larkana, devotees of Syed Ghulam Hussain Shah demonstrated at the gate of Jinnahbagh and staged a sit-in. They criticised police and called for immediate arrest of the terrorists.
In Dadu, activists of the Jamaat Ahle Sunnat enforced a complete shutter-down in the city before taking out a procession and holding a demonstration outside the press club. Demonstrations were also held in Bhan Syedabad, Sehwan, Johi, K.N. Shah and Mehar towns.
In Sukkur, enraged followers of Syed Ghulam Hussain Shah blocked almost all roads including the Baberloi bypass on the National Highway, city bypass and Shikarpur road bypass by burning tyres and staging sit-ins.
Police managed to persuade the protesters to end the blockade and the roads were cleared for traffic after five hours.
The protesters, meanwhile, held a demonstration at clock tower roundabout and demanded immediate arrest of the culprits involved in the attack.
In Khairpur, a partial shutter-down strike was observed on a call for protest given by the Sunni Tehreek. A large number of ST activists took out a procession later in the day and marched to Punj Gulla chowk where they held a demonstration.
A pall of gloom hung over Hussain Abad in Qambar when the body of Syed Shafique was brought to the town, which was shut in mourning over the tragic incident.
The deceased will be buried on Thursday after his father Attaullah Shah arrives from Saudi Arabia.
Syed Ghulam Hussain Shah Bukhari is an apolitical spiritual leader who often moves around freely without government security to address congregations in different parts of the province.
Police have tightened security around the residence of Syed Ghulam Hussain Shah while a large number of his disciples are also guarding his house and the area.