Terrorism has spread like a cancer, Archbishop Joseph Coutts
HYDERABAD / KARACHI:
At least 83 people have been killed and over 350 injured in a suicide bombing at the shrine of Sufi saint Lal Shahbaz Qalandar in Sindh’s Sehwan town on Thursday, officials confirmed.
Police confirmed it was a suicide attack. IG AD Khawaja revised an earlier death toll, saying that at least 72 people (43 men, 20 children and nine women) have been killed and many more injured.
The bomber struck inside the compound, where a large number of devotees were performing dhamal, devotional dance, sources said.
According to a police source, the bomber entered the shrine and blew himself up amid a large assembly of devotees, many of whom were there because Thursday is considered a sacred day to pray at the shrine.
Archbishop Joseph Coutts of Karachi, head of the Pakistan Catholic bishops’ conference, has strongly condemned the attack on the shrine.
“It is sad that a Muslim shrine has been attacked in a Muslim country. We feel so helpless. The scourge of terrorism has spread like a cancer. It has long roots in our society,” the archbishop said.
“The government or army alone cannot fight it alone. The whole nation should stand united, without discrimination of faith, use all peaceful methods and reject these terrorists,” he told ucanews.com.
“Terrorists lie when they claim to target only government departments and spare public or religious places. Attacks on shrines is a wider problem emerging from sectarianism; terrorism has no borders,” he said.
Sehwan is 132 kilometres from Jamshoro and around 140 kilometres from Hyderabad. The incident took place outside the mazar (shrine) near Golden Gate.
Global terror group Islamic State claimed responsibility of the attack, the group’s affiliated news agency AMAQ reported.