Suicide bombers attack Sufi shrine in Karachi; 10 killed

Two explosions hit a famed Sufi shrine in Karachi, killing ten people, police said.

Last Updated: Oct 07, 2010, 21:37 PM IST

Karachi: Two suicide bombers on Thursday struck
venerated Sufi shrine of Abdullah Shah Ghazi in this Pakistani
port city, killing at least 10 people and wounding 60 others
in the latest in a slew of attacks on sacred places.

The blasts occurred this evening in quick succession
at the entrance of the packed shrine of Abdullah Shah Ghazi,
considered to be patron saint of Karachi and is revered by
millions of people.

No group claimed responsibility for the blasts though
the Taliban are opposed to shrines dedicated to Sufi saints.

The shrine located in the upmarket area of Clifton in
this Pakistan`s financial capital was packed with thousands of
devotees, who had gathered on Thursday, considered an
auspicious day, to offer prayers and distribute langar (food).

"Until now we have reports of ten casualties and
around 60 people have been wounded and shifted to hospitals in
these suicide attacks," Home Minister of Sindh province
Zulfiqar Ali Mirza told the media outside the shrine.

"They were suicide attacks. One of the suicide bomber
was stopped at the outer gate and blew himself up while his
associate managed to run through to the inner entrance where
security staff overpowered him but he blew himself up," Mirza
said.

The second bomber blew himself up at a spot where
visitors keep their shoes before entering the shrine.

Two heads, believed to be of the bombers, have been
recovered from the blasts site where severed limbs and human
flesh littered the ground, he said.

Mirza said that since the suicide attacks at the Data
Darbar shrine in Lahore in July security had been beefed up at
the Abdullah Shah shrine as well and the suicide bombers were
intercepted at the walk through gates but blew themselves up.

Simi Jamali, the medical superintendent of Jinnah
Hospital, told reporters that they had admitted over 50 people
and several of the injured were in a critical condition.

"The casualties could rise because the rescue services
are still bringing in the wounded and injured," she said.

Doctors said women and children were among the injured.

The Abdullah Shah Ghazi shrine was evacuated after the
blasts and authorities ordered the closure of all shrines in
Karachi as a precautionary measure.

Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani strongly condemned
the blasts at the shrine.

"Such heinous acts of violence are a reflection of
deranged minds of terrorists who have no regard for humanity.

These elements do not believe in any religion and only want to
create disruption in society," Gilani said in a statement.
Gilani directed law enforcement agencies to probe the
incident and submit a report to him.

Karachi has been the target of suicide attacks in
recent times and Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan`s top commander
Quari Hussain, known for training suicide bombers, had warned
that the Taliban would carry out attacks in Karachi.

In December last year and February this year, suicide
bombers targeted Shia Muslim processions in separate incidents
here in which over 70 people were killed.

PTI