Dawn – Twenty killed in suicide bombing targeting shrine in Jhal Magsi, Balochistan

Syed Ali Shah

Fatehpur-Jhal Magsi district-Balochistan, 5 October 2017. At least 20 people, including a police constable, were killed and more than 30 injured in a suicide bombing on Thursday at Dargah Pir Rakhel Shah in Fatehpur, a small town in the Jhal Magsi district of Balochistan, DawnNews reported.

District Chairman Jhal Magsi, Aurangzaib Magsi confirmed the death toll late in the night.

The deputy commissioner of Jhal Magsi had earlier said that the deceased include at least three children.

The medical superintendent of Gandawah Hospital, Dr Rukhsana Magsi, had earlier said 15 dead bodies were brought to the facility.

She said that another 24 injured were brought to District Headquarters Hospital Gandawah, of which 18 were shifted to Quetta and Larkana for medical treatment.

The governments of Sindh and Balochistan worked closely to rehabilitate those injured in the attack. Jhal Magsi is close to Balochistan’s border with Sindh and better connected to larger cities like Jacobabad in the latter province.

The explosion, which police attributed to a suicide bomber, took place at the entrance to the dargah at a time when scores of people had gathered to pay their respects.

Thursdays are usually busy in terms of attendance at shrines as the day is considered spiritually significant, but the day was also significant for the dargah as it was hosting a bi-monthly event.

District Police Officer Mohammad Iqbal said the bomber had tried to enter the shrine but a security guard stopped him, after which the attacker detonated his explosives.

Initial reports suggested that the explosion took place when the dhamaal — a devotional dance performed at shrines — was being performed after evening prayers.

Balochistan Home Minister Sarfaraz Bugti told DawnNews that “if he [the attacker] had managed to enter the dargah, the death toll would have been much higher.”

Answering a question on whether the government was aware of a terrorist threat, Bugti said, “We are in a war zone. We [share] a porous border with Afghanistan. Keeping all these factors in mind, our security forces ensured a peaceful Moharram and they will continue to fight terrorism in Balochistan.”

The injured were initially transferred to District Headquarters Hospital.

The attack happened hours after the chief of the military’s media wing highlighted the army’s efforts in combating terrorism across the country and brought up the role of “non-state actors” that the army believes are being sponsored by enemy spy agencies.

It was the second deadly attack on a shrine in Pakistan in 2017. In February this year, a suicide bomber had killed more than 80 people and injured more than 250 in an attack targeting the busy Lal Shahbaz Qalandar shrine in Sehwan, Sindh.

The army had launched the ongoing Operation Raddul Fasaad in response to the Sehwan bombing, saying it was aiming at eliminating the “residual/latent threat of terrorism”.

This was also the second attack on the Pir Rakhel Shah shrine since 2005. On March 19, 2005, at least 35 people were killed and many injured when a suicide bomber exploded himself at the shrine. The dead had included devotees from different sects who frequented the shrine seeking spiritual relief.

Pir Rakhel Shah

According to a blog maintained by the shrine’s administrators, Sufi Rakhel Shah was born in 1852 AD in the district of Mirpur, Balochistan. His father, Noor Shah, claimed descent from Hazrat Ali. His eldest brother, Sufi Abdul Nabi Shah, was a disciple of Fakir Jaanullah Shah, a devotee of Sufi Innayatullah Shah.

Rakhel Shah, who is said to have been influenced by his brother’s spiritual way of life, was for a time a disciple of Sufi Abdul Sattar of Dargah Jhoke Sharif, which is located in lower Sindh. After spending some time there, Rakhel Shah returned to Fatehpur to live a life of asceticism and charity.

The shrine was built in his devotion.

https://www.dawn.com/news/1361889/20-killed-in-suicide-bombing-targeting-shrine-in-jhal-magsi-balochistan

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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