Islamabad: At least 76 people were killed and nearly 250 others were injured when an Islamic State suicide bomber blew himself up inside the crowded shrine of revered Sufi Lal Shahbaz Qalandar in Sehwan town on Thursday night.
The Pakistani army chief responded strongly to the attack, saying the country’s forces would avenge every drop of Pakistani blood and that restraint would not be shown for anyone.
Deputy Commissioner Munawar Maheesar confirmed the dead included at least four children and 12 women. “Many of the wounded are in critical condition and they will be shifted to Karachi as soon as navy helicopters and the C-130 plane reach the nearest airport,” another police official said.
Major General Asif Ghafoor, the spokesperson of Pakistan Armed Forces, tweeted his from official account, saying, “Pakistan-Afghanistan Border closed with immediate effects till further orders due to security reasons.”
Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa, following the attack, directed that immediate assistance be provided to civil authorities. Army contingents were dispatched along with medical personnel. Combined Military Hospital Hyderabad was also alerted to receive casualties.
The bomber entered the shrine through its Golden gate and blew himself up near the site where the ritual of Sufi dance ‘Dhamal’ was taking place.
The US has condemned the terrorist attack at a revered Sufi shrine in Pakistan which left over 70 people dead and said it will continue to work with Islamabad to combat terrorism.
The Islamic State has claimed responsibility for the attack.