Six die in Pakistan shrine blast (Second Lead)October 25th, 2010 - 12:26 pm ICT by IANS
By Awais Saleem
Islamabad, Oct 25 (IANS) At least six people were killed and eight injured Monday when a powerful blast tore through a Sufi shrine in Pakistan’s Punjab province, officials said.
The massive explosion took place in Pakpattan at the shrine of Sufi saint Hazrat Baba Farid Ganj Shakkar.
Regional police officer Amjad Saleemi said: “The blast occurred at the eastern gate of the shrine that was closed a few months ago because of security concerns.”
“A motorcyclist carrying milk cans parked the bike outside the gate. The blast occurred because of the explosives concealed in milk containers after he went away,” Saleemi said.
Eyewitnesses said that two motorcyclists came at the Sufi saint’s shrine and left after planting the bomb.
Three women were among the six dead. Several shops were damaged in the deafening explosion that spread panic among the people.
According to an eyewitness, around 200 people were inside the shrine at the time of the huge blast.
The injured were shifted to the district headquarter hospital.
Medical Superintendent Ashraf Chaudhary said: “The administration has imposed emergency in the hospital and the critically injured are being shifted to Lahore.”
Inspector General of Police Tariq Saleem Dogar said: “Because of the prevalent threat, we had already beefed up security at shrines and only one entrance to the shrine was open.”
Another officer said: “Precautionary measures were taken after threats were received by militants last year. We have closed the shrine for devotees for the time being and it’ll soon be re-opened after search and clearance by security agencies.”
Pakistani shrines have been the target of terror attack in the recent past. A suicide blast at a shrine of Abdullah Shah Ghazi in the port city of Karachi almost two weeks ago killed 10 people while two blasts targetting the Data Darbar shrine in Lahore in July left over 40 devotees dead.
(Awais Saleem can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)
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Tags: ashraf, dogar, eyewitnesses, massive explosion, medical superintendent, milk cans, milk containers, motorcyclists, pakpattan, planting the bomb, precautionary measures, punjab province, regional police, saleem, security agencies, shah ghazi, spread panic, sufi saint, target, terror attack