At least 22 people, including four children, were killed and 40 others injured in a suicide attack on a Moharram procession by minority Shias in Pakistan’s Sindh province, a day after 12 people were killed when a suicide bomber blew himself up at a Shia shrine in Balochistan.
The bomber attacked the Moharram procession while it was passing through Shershah Haveli in Jacobabad’s Lashari Mohalla on Friday, killing 22 people and injuring 40 others, District Health Chief Ghulam Murtaza said.
Deputy Superintendent Police (DSP) Khuda Bakhash said it was a suicide bombing.
“Police have recovered lower part of the body of the possible suicide bomber from the site,” SSP Jacobabad Malik Zafar Iqbal Awan said.
The blast took place despite stringent security measures put in place for the Ashura processions taken out on the 9th and 10th of Mohurram by Shia Muslims.
The injured were rushed to the District Hospital Jacobabad where an emergency has been declared.
It was the second major attack that targeted the minority Shia Muslims in the holy month of Muharram when they organise special prayers and take out processions to observe the martyrdom of Hussain Ibne Ali, the grandson of the Prophet.
It came just a day after 12 minority Shia Muslims were killed in a suicide bombing at a Shia shrine in Pakistan’s restive Balochistan province.
The minority Shias are regularly attacked by extremist Sunni militant groups in Pakistan who consider them as heretics.
As many as 61 people were killed and at least another 60 injured in a bomb explosion in a Shia imambargah in upper Sindh district of Shikarpur on January 30.
Thousands of lives have been lost in the last decade due to the ongoing sectarian violence.
The government has taken extraordinary security measures for the two most important days of the month of Moharram with thousands of paramilitary rangers and police deployed in major cities and towns to avoid any terrorist attacks which could trigger off sectarian violence.
The Sindh government had already imposed a ban on pillion riding in Karachi and many other cities of the province.
Mobile phone and internet services have also been blocked in major cities, including Karachi.