Two suicide bombings that killed 45 at a popular Sufi shrine in Pakistan’s east stirred outrage in this terror-scarred nation on Friday.
Several people blamed the US presence in Afghanistan for spurring the attacks, while some faulted a minority sect that itself was viciously targeted weeks ago.
The bombings of Lahore’s Data Darbar shrine, the burial site of a famous Sufi saint, struck at the heart of the moderate Islam most Pakistanis practice. The assault wounded 180 people.
Thousands of people had gathered late Thursday at the green-domed shrine when bombs went off minutes apart in separate sections.
The blasts ripped concrete from the walls, twisted metal gates and left the white marble floor awash with blood. Worshippers scattered as white plumes of smoke blanketed the area, footage showed.
Still, several Pakistanis interviewed on Friday said the real root of the problem was the US presence in Afghanistan and its missile strikes against militants in Pakistan’s tribal regions.
“America is killing Muslims in Afghanistan and in our tribal areas, and militants are attacking Pakistan to express anger against the government for supporting America,” said Zahid Umar, 25, who frequently visits the shrine.
US flays attack
The US Embassy issued a statement Friday condemning the attack, and saying it “demonstrates the terrorists’ blatant disregard for the lives of the Pakistani people and the future of this country.”