Friday, February 20, 2009

Dozens die in Pakistan bomb attack

Friday, February 20, 2009
15:18 Mecca time, 12:18 GMT

Dozens die in Pakistan bomb attack

The blast tore through crowds moving towards a graveyard for the funeral of a Shia leader [AFP]

At least 27 people have been killed and more than 50 others wounded in a suicide bomb attack on a funeral procession in a northwestern Pakistani town.

The explosion occurred on Friday in the city of Dera Ismail Khan, 270km southwest of Islamabad, the capital.

The blast tore through crowds streaming toward a graveyard for the burial of Sher Zeman, a religious leader who had been shot dead in the city the day before.

"The blast occurred when a funeral procession for a Shia Muslim murdered a day earlier was passing by," Syed Mohsin Shah, the area's senior administrator, said.

Witnesses said mourners, some of whom had carried guns to the funeral, opened fire after the explosion, delaying rescue workers from accessing the scene.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the bomb attack.

'Bolder attacks'

Ehsanullah Khan, a police officer in the town, was quoted by the Reuters news agency as saying: "Now violence has erupted here. They're torching vehicles, ransacking shops and other properties."

Al Jazeera's Imran Khan, reporting from Islamabad, said Dera Khan has a significant Shia population which has been under attack for several months, and that there have been several incidents within that area.

"What is happening is that we are seeing more and more [bold] attacks - like this one," he said.

"Just a day ago the caretaker of the mosque was gunned down by unidentified gunmen. After that a funeral procession was taking place this morning at 10am [05:00 GMT] and a suicide bomber wandered up on foot and blew himself up.

"There was a huge amount of panic [and] after the panic came anger and gunshots were fired. Shops were ransacked and houses set on fire."

Curfew imposed

Pakistan's interior ministry has placed a curfew within the area and security forces have cordoned off the area, Khan said.

Local television footage showed people rushing around a street and one person on a stretcher after the blast.

Relations between Pakistan's Sunni majority and Shia minority are under growing strain from a series of attacks attributed to sectarian fighters.

Much of the violence has been in the northwest, where the Taliban and several Sunni groups have gained greater control.

Subscribe to parachinar616

Powered by

blast during funeral procession of Shia elder


 32 killed, 85 injured in D.I. Khan suicide blast
 Updated at: 1816 PST,  Friday, February 20, 2009
32 killed, 85 injured in D.I. Khan suicide blast DERA ISMAIL KHAN: At least 32 persons were killed and 85 others injured in a powerful suicide blast during funeral procession of Shia elder near Shobara hotel here on Friday, DCO Syed Mohsin Shah said.

"The funeral procession accompanying the body of Shia elder, Sher Zaman killed yesterday by unknown gunmen, was moving towards the graveyard when it reached near Sobara hotel a powerful explosion took place," he told reporters.

The DCO said that curfew has been imposed in the city and army has been called in. He also vowed to bring perpetrators of this heinous crime to justice.

Mohsin asked the people to remain in-door as shoot on sight orders have been issued. The DCO said security personnel are patrolling the roads and streets to avoid loss of life and property and maintain order.

The injured were rushed to District Headquarters Hospital (DHQ) in Dera Ismail Khan, Bhakkar and CMH. Emergency has been declared in DI Khan hospital while doctors on leave have been called back. The condition of several victims was stated to be critical. The enraged mourners and family members of the victims protested the incident and resorted to aerial firing.

The protestors burnt tyres and pelted stones on buildings and vehicles. Police rushed to the scene and started search operation. The situation in the city remained tense as intermittent incidents of firing are still reported from interior city.

President Asif Ali Zardari, Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani, Punjab Chief Minister Mian Shahbaz Sharif and NWFP Chief Minister Ameer Haider Khan Hoti strongly condemned the suicide attack

Click to join parachinar616

Click to join parachinar616

Subscribe to parachinar616

Powered by