At least 3 people killed, more than 50 others injured in bombing that occurred despite stringent security measures
At least three people were killed and over 50 others injured on Thursday after unidentified extremists bombed a Muharram procession in the Bahawalnagar district of Punjab province.
According to police, the procession was passing through the City Chowk of Bahawalnagar city when it was targeted with a suspected grenade by unidentified persons. A senior government official in Bahawalnagar confirmed to media that three people had been killed and over 50 others injured.
A local police officer, Kashif Hussain, also confirmed the death toll to the AFP news agency. “The nature of the explosion is not yet clear as a team is still collecting evidence from the scene,” he said. Local media reported that one suspect had been taken into custody and police were investigating further.
The attack, videos of which went viral on social media, occurred despite stringent security arrangements nationwide for Youm-e-Ashur, the 10th of Muharram. Authorities had suspended mobile phone services in major cities as a security measure during Ashura processions, while streets leading to procession routes were also blocked.
The Bahawalnagar procession, said police, had later resumed and people continued with the ceremonies.
Punjab Chief Minister Usman Buzdar took notice of the incident, offered his condolences over the loss of life and tasked the Punjab inspector general of police to take action and arrest culprits immediately. He also visited the Safe City Authority with the provincial law minister to inspect the control room and was briefed on the counter-terrorism department and police forces’ response to the incident.
In a posting on Twitter, Punjab Law Minister Raja Basharat said the CTD had been directed to submit a report into the incident after completing it clearance operation and inquiry.