The target of the attack was an area where believers would perform dhamal – a trance-like dance
HUB – At least 62 people were killed and 102 were injured on Saturday evening in a bombing at the shrine of Shah Norani in Khuzdar district of Balochistan. The victims included women, children and many of the wounded are in critical condition.
Hundreds of Sufi devotees gather in large numbers at the shrine every Saturday and Sunday to perform special rituals. Those include dancing by women and children who pay tribute to the Sufi saint buried there.
The target of the attack was an area where believers would perform dhamal – a trance-like dance. The blast site a famous sufi worship place is situated in Khuzdar district, some 250km away from Karachi.
“52 people have died and dozens injured in the incident,” confirmed Balochistan Home Minister Mir Sarfaraz Ahmed Bugti.
Edhi sources earlier confirmed that at least 52 dead bodies have been taken to hospital. The dead include women and children. The death toll may increase as the nearest hospital is at least 150 kilometers away from the shrine.
Balochistan Home Minister Sarfaraz Bugti said, ‘Our focus is on rescue services at the moment. We can’t be certain about the exact number of casualties and the nature of attack that took place today.’
The militant Islamic State (IS) group claimed responsibility for the attack, reported Reuters.
President Mamnoon Hussain and Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif have strongly condemned the bomb blast in the Shrine of Shah Noorani near Hub.
Prime Minister ordered speedy rescue services to save the lives of those injured in the attack.
Interior Minister Chaudhary Nisar Ali Khan has also condemned the incident and sought report from Inspector General Frontier Constabulary.
Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan also lamented on the loss of lives in the attack and demanded helicopter service to help rescuers save the victims of the blast.
Shocked at blast in Khuzdar, Balochistan at shrine of Shah Noorani: terrible loss of life. Govt must immed send helis to this remote area
— Imran Khan (@ImranKhanPTI) November 12, 2016
Maryam Nawaz also condemned and tweeted:
Hub blast. Very sad news. May Allah protect Pakistan. Heart goes out to the injured & the bereaved. — Maryam Nawaz Sharif (@MaryamNSharif) November 12, 2016
On October 24, at least 60 police recruits were killed and over 100 were injured in a bomb and attack carried out by Lashkar-e-Jhangvi Al Aalmi group in Quetta.
Lack of medical facilities and difficult terrain
Rescue teams and authorities faced severe difficulty in reaching the site of the incident and bringing the badly-wounded patients back to hospitals due to long distance, poor roads and darkness as there is no electricity in the area, officials said adding that many of the badly wounded persons died due to excessive bleeding on their way to hospitals in Hub and Karachi.
The badly-injured persons started arriving at the Civil Hospital, Karachi, at around 10:45 pm on Saturday night, health officials at the Civil Hospital Karachi’s Trauma Center said, adding that most of the patients were critically injured and were being operated upon by the medical teams to save their lives.
The shrine is also located in hilly terrain, which further added to the difficulties faced by emergency services.
Army teams dispatched
On orders from the Chief of Army Staff General Raheel Sharif, army troops and medical teams were dispatched to the Shah Noorani shrine to provide medical and rescue services to the injured, said a tweet from the Inter-Services Public relations.
Army medical teams treated the wounded at the location.
Shah Noorani Blast:Another 100 sldrs,4 med teams &45 ambulances also on their way.Sind Rangers ambulances&doctors also on their way-3
— Gen Asim Bajwa (@AsimBajwaISPR) November 12, 2016