Dawn – At least 70 dead as bomb rips through Lal Shahbaz shrine in Sehwan, Sindh

Mohammad Hussain Khan – Qurban Ali Khushik – Imtiaz Ali

At least 70 people were killed and more than 150 injured in a suicide attack on the shrine of Lal Shahbaz Qalandar in Sehwan on Thursday evening.

“So far 70 people have been killed and more than 150 have been wounded,” Inspector General Police Sindh A.D. Khawaja said.

“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.”

Medical Superintendant Dr Moinuddin Siddiqui of Sehwan Taluka Hospital confirmed that 61 bodies were received by the hospital.

“Almost all the bodies were brought here. We have handed over 26 bodies to the heirs of the deceased, while those that remain unidentified are at the hospital,” said Siddiqui.

Deputy Commissioner Munawar Maheesar confirmed the dead included at least four children and 12 women.
Sehwan is located 193km to the north east of Karachi.

The Assistant Superintendent of Police in Sehwan said a suicide bomber entered the shrine through its Golden gate. The attacker blew himself up after throwing a grenade, which failed to explode, he added.

The explosion took place in the area where the dhamaal (a Sufi ritual) was being performed after evening prayers.

A large number of devotees, from different faiths and from across the country, frequent the shrine on Thursdays — a day of spiritual significance in Pakistan’s shrine culture.

Security for shrines was tightened across the province following the attack.

Armed forces aid in rescue efforts

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.

Air evacuation of the injured was started from Nawabshah airport, the armed forces had tasked a C-130 aircraft and helicopters to aid in the effort. The injured were taken to Karachi and Hyderabad, the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) said.

The ISPR added that the armed forces had placed all required resources to facilitate the rescue effort. Pakistan Army and Rangers assisted with rescue efforts at the site.

The chief of naval staff placed all navy hospitals in Karachi on high alert. The air force also placed its hospitals on alert to treat the injured.

Chief Minister Sindh Syed Murad Ali Shah had directed all rescue teams to reach the spot of the attack.

“Doctors from Jamshoro, Nawabshah and Hyderabad were sent to Sehwan,” Shah told DawnNews. He also said security has been tightened at all shrines across the province. Sehwan is Shah’s constituency.

A mobile forensic van of the Sindh Police was dispatched to the shrine following the attack.

To read the full article :

http://www.dawn.com/news/1315136/at-least-70-dead-as-bomb-rips-through-lal-shahbaz-shrine-in-sehwan-sindh

The Times of India – Suicide bomber targets Shiite mosque in Kabul, killing 32

Kabul, 21 November 2016. A suicide bomber struck a Shiite mosque in the Afghan capital on Monday, killing 32 people, the UN office said, the second large-scale attack targeting minority Shiites in Kabul in just over a month.

Afghan police said the bomber, who was on foot, had walked into the Shiite mosque in western Kabul where he detonated his explosives among the crowd of worshippers.

No group immediately claimed responsibility for the attack, though Sunni extremists such as the Taliban and the Islamic State militants, who view Shiites as heretics and apostates, frequently target Shiite mosques and public gatherings.

The United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan said the explosion also wounded more than 50 people, many of them children. Earlier in the day, the Afghan authorities said at least 28 people were killed and 48 wounded.

“This appalling attack on worshippers is an atrocity,” the statement quoted Pernille Kardel, the Secretary-General’s Deputy Special Representative for Afghanistan. “UNAMA expresses its revulsion at this latest effort by extremists to stoke sectarian violence in Afghanistan.”

Today’s bombing hit during a prayer ceremony commemorating 40 days since the anniversary of the death of Imam Hussein, the slain grandson of Prophet Mohammed. The ceremony is known as Arbaeen, meaning ‘forty’ in Arabic. Hussein is a revered Shiite martyr who was killed in 680 AD in the city of Karbala in present-day Iraq.

In early October, militants attacked another Shiite ceremony at a shrine in Kabul, commemorating the anniversary of Hussein’s actual death. That attack killed 17 people, mostly worshippers but also several policemen. A day later, a similar attack struck Shiites in the city of Mazer-e Sharif in northern Balkh province, killing at least 14 people.

The Islamic State affiliate in Afghanistan claimed responsibility for one of those two attacks, the UN statement said.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/middle-east/Suicide-bomber-targets-Shiite-mosque-in-Kabul-killing-32/articleshow/55548784.cms

The Hindu – Saudi Arabia names Pakistani man as suicide bomber in Jeddah

There was no immediate comment from Islamabad. There are around 9 million foreigners living in Saudi Arabia, which has a total population of 30 million.

Dubai, 5 July 2016. Saudi Arabia on Tuesday identified the suicide bomber who struck outside the U.S. Consulate in Jeddah as a Pakistani resident of the kingdom who arrived 12 years ago to work as a driver.

The suicide bombing near the diplomatic post on Monday was the first of three targeting the kingdom, including one outside of the sprawling mosque grounds where the Prophet Muhammad is buried in the western city of Medina that killed four Saudi security troops and wounded five.

Millions of Muslims from around the world visit the mosque every year as part of their pilgrimage to Mecca.

The governor of Mecca, Prince Faisal bin Salman, who is a son of King Salman, was shown on state television visiting security officers wounded in the Medina blast and the site of that explosion, within hours of the blast.

No group has yet claimed responsibility for the Jeddah and Medina attacks, nor another at a Shia mosque in the east of the country. The nature of the attacks and their apparently coordinated timing suggested the Islamic State group could be to blame.

An Interior Ministry statement issued on Tuesday identified the man behind the Jeddah attack as 34-year-old Abdullah Qalzar Khan. It said he lived in Jeddah with “his wife and her parents.” The statement didn’t elaborate.

There was no immediate comment from Islamabad. There are around 9 million foreigners living in Saudi Arabia, which has a total population of 30 million.

Among all foreigners living in the kingdom, Pakistanis represent one of the largest groups.

The Saudi Ministry said the attacker in the Medina attack set off the bomb in a parking lot after security officers raised suspicions about him. Several cars caught fire and thick plumes of black smoke were seen rising from the site of the explosion as thousands of worshippers crowded the streets around the mosque.

Worshippers expressed shock that such a prominent holy site could be targeted.

“That’s not an act that represents Islam,” said Altayeb Osama, a 25-year-old Sudanese visitor to Medina and resident of Abu Dhabi who heard two large booms about a minute apart as he was heading toward the mosque for sunset prayers Monday. “People never imagined that this could happen here.”

The Prophet Muhammad’s mosque was packed on Monday evening with worshippers during the final days of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, which ends in the kingdom on Tuesday. Local media say the attacker was intending to strike the mosque when it was crowded with thousands of worshippers gathered for the sunset prayer.

Qari Ziyaad Patel (36), from Johannesburg, South Africa, was at the mosque when he heard a blast just as people were breaking their fast with dates. Many at first thought it was the sound of traditional, celebratory cannon fire, he said.

“I actually felt the ground shake,” he said. “The vibrations were very strong. … It sounded like a building imploded.”

State-run news channel al-Ekhbariya aired live video of the mosque filled with worshippers praying hours after the explosion.

The ruling Al Saud family derives enormous prestige and legitimacy from being the caretakers of the hajj pilgrimage and Islam’s holiest sites in Mecca and Medina. The attack may have been an attempt to undermine the Saudi monarchy’s claim of guardianship.

Saudi Arabia is part of the U.S.-led coalition fighting the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria, and the militant group views its ruling monarchy as an enemy. The kingdom has been the target of multiple attacks by the group that have killed dozens of people. In June, the Interior Ministry reported 26 terror attacks in the last two years.

In 1979, extremists took over Mecca’s Grand Mosque, home to the cube-shaped Kaaba, for two weeks as they demanded the royal family abdicate the throne.

Last year, the Saudi government was accused of gross negligence by regional foes, primarily Iran, after a crush of pilgrims during the annual hajj killed at least 2,426 people and a crane collapse over the Grand Mosque killed 111 worshippers.

Also on Monday evening, at least one suicide bomber and a car bomb exploded near a Shia mosque in eastern Saudi Arabia, several hours after a suicide bomber carried out an attack near the U.S. Consulate in the western city of Jeddah.

The attack in the eastern region of Qatif did not appear to cause any injuries, said resident Mohammed al-Nimr.

His brother, prominent Saudi Shia cleric Nimr al-Nimr, was executed in January after a court found him guilty of sedition and inciting violence for his role in anti-government protests charges his supporters reject. Qatif is home to many Shia, a minority in the Sunni-dominated kingdom.

The Interior Ministry said it was working to identify the remains of three bodies at the site of blast, suggesting there may have been three attackers.

IS and other Sunni extremists consider Shias to be apostates deserving of death, and have previously attacked Shia places of worship, including a suicide bombing on a Shia mosque in Qatif in May 2015 that killed 21 people.

In the Jeddah attack, a suicide bomber detonated his explosives after two security guards approached him, killing himself and lightly wounding the two guards, the Interior Ministry said.

No consular staff were wounded in the attack.

http://www.thehindu.com/news/international/saudi-arabia-names-pakistani-man-as-suicide-bomber-in-jeddah/article8811464.ece

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American Sikh Council – ASC strongly condemns deplorable terrorist attacks in Lahore

Press Release, 28 March 2016. The American Sikh Council (ASC) is shocked and distressed by the brutal act of violence against Pakistani Christians who were celebrating Easter Sunday at Gulshan-e-Iqbal Park, in central Lahore, when a suicide bomber blew himself up a few yards from a children’s play area on March 27, 2016.

Currently, at least 70 people, mostly women and children have been killed at a crowded park in Pakistan in a suicide blast that also wounded more than 300 people, officials said.

The police and paramilitary are on a nationwide manhunt trying to apprehend the main suspects. The military has already raided several locations and found huge caches of arms and bomb making material.

The American Sikh Council (ASC) sends its heartfelt condolences to the families and loved ones of those who have been taken away by this unspeakable tragedy. We pray for a speedy and full recovery of the injured.

Our prayers are with all the victims, their families, and local community. May the Almighty lighten your burden, and grace you with hope and healing under these very difficult circumstances. Our thoughts and prayers are with you at this time of profound tragedy and grief.

Such heinous acts in the name of religion must be condemned in the strictest manner and the American Sikh Council (ASC) stands in solidarity with the civilized world.

Religious extremism which culminates in any form of violence must be rejected by all and the full weight of the law must be brought to bear on it in order for the perpetrators to be brought to justice.

The American Sikh Council is the umbrella organization representative of Sikhs in the United States. It is an elected body of Sikh Gurdwaras and institutions. Currently 71 Gurdwaras and other Sikh institutions across the nation are members of ASC.

The major governing purpose of the organization is to represent the collective view of Sikhs in the United States. ASC works to promote Sikh interests at the national and international level focusing on issues of advocacy, education, and well-being of humankind.

Sincerely,

Inderpreet Singh
Media and Public relations

American Sikh Council
P.O. Box 932, Voorhees, NJ 08043, USA
email: contact@americansikhcouncil.org

www.AmericanSikhCouncil.org