Bomb hits Shia procession killing 16: Pakistan police
Published Sunday, January 15, 2012
A bomb ripped through a Shia procession killing 16 marchers and wounding over 20 others in central Pakistan on Sunday, Pakistani police said. No group claimed immediate responsibility for the carnage in the town of Khanpur in the Punjab province.
The bomb hit as Shia were marking Arbaeen, the 40th day of mourning the death of the Prophet Mohammed's grandson Imam Hussein. Shia Muslims account for about 20 percent of Pakistan's mostly Sunni Muslim population of 160 million.
Dunya TV news broadcast footage of several dead and bloodied bodies lying on the ground. Pictures showed a cloud of grey smoke rising in the sky with people beating their chests and heads and crying for help.
"The evidence showed that it was a bomb blast, we are examining whether it was a planted one or a timed device," Suhail Zafar, a senior police official, told reporters in the Rahim Yar Khan district.
Mohammad Mushtaq, a senior government official, told the private Dunya TV that 16 people had been killed and 20 wounded. The injured had been rushed to local hospitals, he added.
"We are trying to calm the situation," Mushtaq said, after angry and tearful marchers attacked a police station.
There had been confusion at first as to the cause of the explosion, with one senior police official, Abid Qadri, saying it was caused when a flag from the procession hit a electric wire.