EU decries deadly attack at Pakistan shrine

Brussels, Feb 17 (IANS) The European Union (EU) has denounced the suicide terrorist attack at a shrine in Pakistan which killed more than 70 people and wounded 200 others.

“We express our condolences to the families of the victims and wish a speedy recovery to those who were injured,” a spokesperson of the European External Action Service (EEAS), the EU’s diplomatic service, said in a statement on Thursday, Xinhua news agency reported.

“We are determined to stand by Pakistan in fighting all forms of terrorism and will continue to strengthen our cooperation with Pakistan in this regard,” the spokesperson said.

The death toll of a deadly suicide blast at a shrine in Sehwan town of Pakistan’s south Sindh Province has risen to 72, local police said.

Inspector General of Sindh police A.D. Khawaja said that over 200 people were also injured in the explosion.

A suicide bomber entered the Lal Shahbaz Qalandar shrine from a crowded golden gate and blew himself up in a group of people performing Dhamal (Sufi dance) inside a compound in Sehwan, a small town located some 284 km away from the provincial capital of Karachi, said policeman Rasool Bux.

He said there were 500 to 800 people inside the shrine as Thursday evening is considered as the most sacred time to pray in the shrine and a large number of people from across the country were there to pay homage to the late saint and perform Dhamal.

Global terror group Islamic State (IS) claimed the attack. On its Arabic AMAQ website, IS said a suicide bomber “exploded his vest in Shia shrine of Lal Shahbaz Qalandar in Pakistan’s south Sindh province.”

This is the second time when IS claimed an attack targeting a shrine in Pakistan over the last three months.

On November 12 last year, at least 52 people were killed and over 100 others injured when an IS suicide bomber blew himself up in a shrine in the country’s southwest Balochistan province.