Many Die in Pakistan Procession Blast

A suicide bombing has ripped through a Shia Muslim procession in northwestern Pakistan, killing at least 22 people, injuring dozens and sparking riots during the Muslim sect's most important holiday, officials said.

Many Die in Pakistan Procession Blast
The blast on Thursday occurred in the town of Hangu in North West Frontier Province, during an Ashura procession to mark the Shia mourning month of Moharram, Riffat Pasha, police chief of NWFP, told Reuters. At least 50 people were injured.


Army troops took control of the area and a curfew was imposed as the Shia vented their anger by burning shops and cars in Hangu, about 200 km southwest of the capital, Islamabad, district police chief Ayub Khan said. "We thought the bomb was detonated by remote control, but now it appears to be a suicide attack," Khan said.


Road blocks


Police mounted road blocks on the road to Hangu. An Associated Press reporter was barred from passing beyond Ustarzai, a town about 25 km from the scene of the attack.


"We have orders that no one is allowed beyond this point," said Maqbali Khan, an officer commanding about 20 police at a barricade. He said that angry protesters in Hangu were burning vehicles.  


"We thought the bomb was detonated by remote control, but now it appears to be a suicide attack"

Ayub Khan,
Islamabad district police chief

Hangu Mayor Ghani Ur-Rahman, however, said the situation was under control by early afternoon. He said dozens were injured, although Sunni and Shia leaders were helping to calm the situation.

The explosion hit a procession of hundreds of people in a bazaar soon after it emerged from the main Shia mosque at mid morning, said a senior Interior Ministry official. 

Earlier, Maulana Khurshid Anwar, a leader of the Shia procession, told Reuters the blast was caused by suicide bombing.


The bomber exploded near a stage from where Anwar was about to address the mourners. Angry Shias started setting shops and a bank on fire after the explosion, he said.  


Holiest day


The blast occurred on Ashura, the holiest day for Shias, which marks the martyrdom of Imam Hussain, a grandson of the Prophet Mohammad.  


Police have been deployed in force across Pakistan for a number of days ahead of the Ashura ceremony, which is a favourite target of hardliners from the majority Sunni community.


Shias mark Ashura by publicly
wailing and whipping themselves

Shias mark the ceremony by publicly wailing and by whipping themselves with knives attached to chains.


While the two communities generally live in harmony, thousands of Shia and Sunni Muslims have been killed in Pakistan in recent years in internecine conflict.




Meanwhile, in western Afghanistan, fighting between Shia Muslims and Sunnis on Thursday injured 17 people, officials said.


The fighting occurred in a camp for displaced people in Herat, near the Iranian border, said Barakatullah Mohammedi, a doctor at Herat Hospital.


He said 17 people were injured. It was not immediately clear what sparked the fighting during Ashura.


Source: Al Jazeera

Güncelleme Tarihi: 20 Eylül 2018, 18:16