In Rahim Yar Khan: Bomb attack on mourners kills 18

Published: January 15, 2012
Around 11 people dead, DPO says it can be a bomb blast, RPO Bahawalpur denies it was an act of terrorism. PHOTO: FILE/AFP

Around 11 people dead, DPO says it can be a bomb blast, RPO Bahawalpur denies it was an act of terrorism. PHOTO: FILE/AFP

KHANPUR, RAHIM YAR KHAN: A bomb ripped through a Shia mourning procession killing 18 mourners and wounding dozens, some of them critically, in southern Punjab on Sunday.

The remote-controlled bomb targeted a Chehlum procession in the Khanpur tehsil of Rahim Yar Khan, said District Police Officer (DPO) Sohail Zafar Chattha.

“The bomb was planted near an electricity pylon and it was set off when the procession approached Darkhawasti Square,” he told The Express Tribune retracting an earlier statement which suggested that it was caused when one of the standards (Alm) from the procession hit a high tension power wire.

The procession, known as Alm Walas, was taken out from Darbar-e-Hussain Imambargah and was supposed to converge with the main mourning procession on Shahi Road. Approximately 700 mourners were attending the procession.

“There was a loud explosion a few yards from the procession and we all scrambled to get away,” said Imran Iqbal, one of the mourners. “Debris was everywhere, and a cloud of dust engulfed us. Many people died on the spot.”

The blast site was strewn with human limbs and sandals and blood was splattered all over.

Angry and tearful mourners turned violent after the carnage and attacked police mobile vans and the nearby police station. They roughed up DPO Chattha and District Coordination Officer Dr Ahmed Javed Qazi, blaming them for inadequate security on the procession route.

Police fired gunshots into the air and lobbed tear-gas shells to disperse the irate mourners. However when police failed to control the situation, paramilitary Rangers were called in to restore order.

Colonel Farhat, the in-charge of Cholistan Rangers, told The Express Tribune that they have brought the situation under control.

However, enraged mourners said they would not bury the victims until the culprits of the blast were arrested. Regional Police Officer Abid Qadri travelled to the town to negotiate with the leaders of the Shia community.

The casualties were shifted to the Tehsil Headquarters Hospital Khanpur and Sheikh Zaid Medical College Hospital Rahim Yar Khan. “We received 30 wounded persons. Of them, 23 are in a critical condition,” Capt (Retd) Mushtaq Ahmed, the medical superintendent of Sheikh Zaid Hospital, told The Express Tribune.

In the night, condemnations started pouring in. The Shia Ulema Council and Shia Azadari Council also blamed the government’s negligence for the blast and announced protests in different parts of the province on Monday.

Khanpur city’s Deputy Superintendent of Police Khalid Bhatti was suspended for negligence of duty and Federal Interior Minister Rehman Malik formed a committee to investigate the tragedy.

Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif, on his part, announced Rs500,000 for heirs of each of the deceased and Rs100,000 for each of those injured.

Though nobody has claimed responsibility for the deadly bombing, fingers are pointed at the Lashkar-e-Jhangvi. More than 4,000 people have died in sectarian violence since the late 1980s in the country.

Published in The Express Tribune, January 16th, 2012.

Facebook Conversations

Reader Comments (20)

  • Jan 15, 2012 - 1:51PM

    Why Muslims killing each other? why they are being used others? why they r making the bad image of the the religion Islam? In Fact Muslims are themselves responsible for the bad Image of IslamRecommend

  • Jan 15, 2012 - 2:02PM

    Vienna,January 15,2012
    Wake up Pakistan wake up to ground realities.The establishment
    should take full responsibility for all people´s welfare within the
    national boundaries. These are not the times to blame among
    the parts of establishment.Keep aside differences work for the
    welbeing of the population.As it is not many subcontinental people
    are proud of Pakistani performance even though most of them
    substandard considering their inheritance.It does not make me
    happy to learn primary and middle class teaching standards in
    India second worst in the whole world.So also about their so
    called cricket performance abroad either in U.K. or in Australia.
    Empty pride is not worth the salt we eat.
    Taravadu Taranga Trust for Media Monitoring TTTMM India
    –Kulamarva Balakrishna


  • faraz
    Jan 15, 2012 - 3:48PM

    Southern Punjab is hotbed of sectarian terrorists. Rahimyarkhan is the hometown of Molana Ishaq of LeJ


  • Hakeem
    Jan 15, 2012 - 3:58PM

    Media must play a positive role in such incidents.


  • Mohammad Ali Siddiqui
    Jan 15, 2012 - 4:12PM

    Another day when innocent people are killed in Pakistan.

    Government is busy in making new friends in politics and parting ways with those who are into PTI.

    Now Minister of Interior will come up to give interview in his usual manner.

    What a shame. There is no price of human lives in Pakistan.


  • Farhan Gilgiti
    Jan 15, 2012 - 4:32PM

    This is a tragic act of terrorism. If the battle of Karballa could not finish Shiism, nothing can. The Taliban need to realize this. Their murderous attacks are actually supporting the militant Shia leaders who are nurturing their youth “for defence”.

    For the sake of Allah Almighty, please come back to senses, both sects


  • Mir
    Jan 15, 2012 - 5:16PM

    Yesterday they attacked D I khan, today rahim yar khan, give peace a chance you have given a chance to them and look at results.


  • A Suhail
    Jan 15, 2012 - 6:14PM

    Everytime government decides to negotiating with the terrorbans, terrorbans use it as an opportunity to regroup and then start their attacks again. We must stop this farce of negotiating and attack these brutes with full force. This is not america’s war but ours to fight till end.


  • Ali Wali
    Jan 15, 2012 - 6:19PM

    Terrorism against Shia is counter productive, instead of demoralising Shias, it is spreading Shiism in Punjab, with more and more educated people embracing Shiism.


  • tajammal
    Jan 15, 2012 - 6:33PM

    this was very bad pray god shaheed would be in the heaven


  • Akthar
    Jan 15, 2012 - 7:18PM

    To All Paki`s…

    Am a happy atleast a few Pakis have expressed sympathy for the shias. Am not a Sunni, and am much a Paki as you are. As a minority, we certainly deserve to LIVE.

    Its a shame to say, but some of minorities cannot even claim themselves to be muslim. Others minorities face law`s which are really cruel and unfair.

    As a Patriotic Paki, i request comments from my fellow paki`s request security to minorities.


  • American Desi
    Jan 15, 2012 - 7:28PM

    Religion of peace indeed!


  • SaudiRules
    Jan 15, 2012 - 8:18PM

    The founder of this nation QeA, MA Jinnah was a shia! If he was alive these LeJ types would have tried to killed him too.


  • Syed Habib-ur Rehman
    Jan 15, 2012 - 11:59PM

    who sayes you that QA.MA.Jinnah was shiya .Is there any prof with you.Perhaps you wants to miss guide the nation.Hope you will avoid such kind of malpractice .@SaudiRules:


  • Ali
    Jan 16, 2012 - 2:45AM

    @Syed Habib-ur Rehman:
    Mr. I think you are trying to miss-Guide, Go and read the history and his family history.His last deed in which he wrote that after his death all of his after death obligations must be full filled according to “Fiqa-Jaffria”. Its better for you to study….M.A Jinnah was from Shia sect.


  • Raj
    Jan 16, 2012 - 8:26AM

    What is the difference between Sunnis, Shias and Ahmedias..all profess and follow the same religion of peace..


  • Ali Wali
    Jan 16, 2012 - 5:34PM

    @Syed Habib-ur Rehman: Mohatarma Fatima Jinnah and Prime minister Liaqat ali Khan went to the court and asked them to execute Quaid’s will according to shia jurisprudence, because according to them he was a Shia. Also his NIkkah was performed by a prominent Shia landlord.


  • Truth
    Jan 16, 2012 - 6:47PM
  • Jan 17, 2012 - 4:31AM

    He was born Ismaili Khoja correct, however he would have a falling out with the community including with the Aga Khan of the time that would make him leave and settle as a Jafri.


  • Jan 17, 2012 - 10:56PM

    Terrorists know only death, destruction and mayhem. They are desperate and looking to inflict as much damage on the people of Pakistan as possible. These terrorists have no respect for religious occasions. In fact, they have no respect for anything sacred. Have they not attacked innocent citizens on every religious event? Our governments are communicating with each other to normalize our cooperation and relationship so the advantages these terrorists are conceiving diminish altogether. Our resolve to beat terror is strong, and we will not rest till all terrorist groups are eliminated and peace returns to people of the region.

    Maj David Nevers
    DET-United States Central Command


More in Punjab