At least 75 martyred, 250 injured in suicide attack on Lal Shahbaz Qalandar shrine

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DADU: At least 75 people including women and children were martyred and over 250 sustained critical injuries in a suicide blast at the shrine of Sufi Saint Hazrat Lal Shahbaz Qalandar in Sehwan Sharif on Thursday evening.
Thousands of devotees from across the country arrive at the Lal Shahbaz Qalandar shrine on every Thursday. The explosion took place in the area where dhamaal was being performed after evening prayers in the shrine.
The Taluka Hospital Medical Superintendent Dr Moinuddin Siddiqui has said at least 50 dead bodies and scores of injured were brought to the hospital. The death toll is feared to rise as there is only one small hospital in the area. However, emergency has been declared in the hospitals of Hyderabad, Dadu and Jamshoro.
Meanwhile, the Assistant Superintendent of Police in Sehwan said a suicide bomber entered the shrine through its Golden gate. He said the attacker blew himself up after throwing a grenade, which failed to explode.
Chief of Army Staff (COAS), General Qamar Javed Bajwa has directed immediate assistance to Sehwan blast victims.
According to DG ISPR Army and Rangers personnel have been moved with medical support. He said that Hyderabad CMH is ready to receive casualties.
DG ISPR said that night flying naval helicopter and C 130 aircraft of Pakistan Air Force (PAF) are being sent for quick evacuation of people injured in the suicide blast. He said PAF’s C-130 plane will lift the injured from Nawab Shah airport. He said armed forces have placed all required resources for rescue effort. “Army and Rangers are doing rescue effort at site,” he added.
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has strongly condemned the blast. “This is an attack on Pakistan’s future” he said.
Chief Minister Sindh Syed Murad Ali Shah phoned the senior civil and police officials of the district and instructed them to reach the shrine. “Doctors from Jamshoro, Nawabshah and Hyderabad have been sent to Sehwan,” added Shah. He also said security has been tightened at all shrines across the province.
Provincial Health Minister Sikandar Mandhro told media that the blast occurred during ‘Dhamaal’ expressing fear that death toll can increase as the shrine is visited daily by hundreds. Eye witnesses too claimed that the blast occurred within the premises of the shrine during the dhamaal ritual.
Faisal Edhi, the head of Edhi Foundation, said that he has sent 30 ambulances at the blast site to move the injured to hospitals. The injured are being moved to hospitals in Dadu and Jamshoro as Sehwan’s hospital has no proper medical facilities. Meanwhile, Chief of the Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa appealed to the nation to stay calm in the wake of multiple terrorist attacks in the country in recent days.
More than 100 people have been killed from Karachi to Peshawar in various terrorist attacks over the last five days. The latest proved to be more deadly when a bomber ripped through a crowded Sufi shrine in Sehwan Sharif, leaving 43 people killed.
In a message on Twitter, DG ISPR Asif Ghaoor said army chief has appealed to the nation to stay calm. “Your security forces shall not allow hostile powers to succeed. We stand for our nation,” he said.
He further said that the recent terrorist acts are being executed on directions from hostile powers and from sanctuaries in Afghanistan. “We shall defend and respond,” he added.
Meanwhile, Pakistan army says that night flying naval helicopter and C 130 aircraft of Pakistan Air Force (PAF) are being sent for quick evacuation of people injured in a suicide blast at Lal Shahbaz Qalandar shrine in Sehwan Sharif. Navy helicopter will lift the injured from Sehwan and surroundings, he said.
He said armed forces have placed all required resources for rescue effort. “Army and Rangers are doing rescue effort at site,” he added.

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