At least 43 people have been killed and 100 more injured in a bombing at a Sufi shrine in Pakistan, according to reports. Hundreds of people were taking part in a ritual dance inside the Shah Noorani shrine near Hub, Balochistan, at the time of the blast.
Women and children were among those who died in the bombing, Geo TV reports. Islamic State has claimed responsibility. In a statement, a government spokesperson said: “The Prime Minister (Nawaz Sharif) expressed deep grief and sorrow over the loss of innocent lives in the blast.
“Sympathising with the bereaved families, the Prime Minister prayed for eternal peace of the departed souls and grant of courage to the bereaved families to bear this irreparable loss. “The Prime Minister directed the concerned authorities at the federal and provincial levels to bring the perpetrators to task immediately.”
The government dispatched 25 ambulances from Hub to the shrine. Interior minister Sarfraz Bugti said it was not clear if a device had been planted at the shrine, or if the bombing was carried out by a suicide attacker. Imran Khan, former cricketer and chairman of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf party, said the shrine had been the target of a “condemnable terror act”.
He added: “We must move resolutely against sectarian terrorism striking at core of our society.” Balochistan, which borders Iran and Afghanistan, has been afflicted by Islamist militancy, sectarian violence between Sunni and Shiite Muslims and a separatist insurgency.
In October, Islamic State claimed an attack on a police academy in Quetta, in which at least 61 people died.