HUB – At least 62 people were killed and 102 were injured injured after a bomb went off in the crowded Shah Noorani Shrine in Hub town of Balochistan’s Lasbela District on Saturday evening.
Balochistan Home Minister Mir Sarfaraz Ahmed Bugti confirmed over 50 deaths in the incident.
The militant Islamic State (IS) group claimed responsibility for the attack, according to international news agencies.
Teams of medics and paramedics from Pakistan Army’s Medical Corps and Pakistan Rangers Sindh reached the site of explosion, and gave first aid to the injured. After preliminary medical attention, the injured were referred to nearby hospitals in Hub, Khuzdar and Lasbella.
Rescue teams reached the scene after six hours.
Details coming from local TV reports suggest the blast occurred near the courtyard at the shrine where devotees were performing Dhamal on Saturday.
According to senior Edhi official in Khuzdar district, at the time of the blast, there were at least 500 people gathered at the spot to view the performance.
Rescue teams reached the scene and started shifting the injured to nearby hospitals. A control room was also established in Quetta to coordinate rescue efforts.
Emergency has been imposed in Civil Hospital Karachi, AMS Dr. Abdul Qadir said.
The fateful incident occurs a day after the law enforcement agencies killed commander of a banned outfit during an action in Hub area.
In a joint action, late on Thursday night, Rangers, Frontier Corps and police gunned down commander Arif alias Saqib of banned outfit Jundullah, after exchange of fire.
Arif was mastermind of suicide attacks in Karachi and Balochistan. Huge cache of arms and ammunition was seized during the action. Meanwhile, a widespread operation has also been launched to hunt for his accomplices.
The shrine is also located in hilly terrain, which further added to the difficulties faced by emergency services.
Hazrat Baba Shah Noorani’s Shrine, which is more than 500 years old, is located in Hub in Balochistan province. It is surrounded by a striking mountain range where one can find a diversity of animal life.
Shah Noorani has been the abode of many Sufi Saints belonging to various schools of thought. It is also believed that the Prophet Noah tied his boat at this place after the great Deluge. According to the local tradition even Adam also lived here for some time.
There are “Chillagahs” (worship cells) of almost every prominent Sufi saint such as Hazrat Qalandar Lal Shahbaz, Khawaja Moeenuddin Chishti Ajmeri, Shah Abdul Latif Bhitai, etc.