A day after Chehlum bombing: Amidst mounting toll, gloomy Khanpur mourns its dead

Published: January 17, 2012
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Mourners attend the funeral prayers of 
victims. PHOTO: AFP

Mourners attend the funeral prayers of victims. PHOTO: AFP

KHANPUR / BAHAWALPUR: As Khanpur reeled from Sunday’s blast that killed 18 people in a Chehlum procession organised by Shias in the area, another bomb was found at the venue on Monday.

As the death toll from Sunday’s bomb attack on a Shia mourning procession rose to 21, police on Monday found and defused another explosive device near the site of the first bombing in Khanpur tehsil of Rahim Yar Khan.

Three more injured expired overnight in hospitals, taking the tally to 21, medics said. Over 50 people were admitted to the Tehsil Municipal Hospital Khanpur and Sheikh Zaid Medical College Hospital in Rahim Yar Khan. One of them with life-threatening wounds was referred to Victoria Hospital in neighbouring Bahawalpur district.

Provincial Ministers Iqbal Channar and Mian Abdul Ghafoor, along with top police officers, also flew in to Khanpur. They visited the hospitals and directed the doctors to provide best possible treatment to the injured.

It also transpired on Monday that 14 of the dead mourners were from the same family and had come from the Hajan Kalan area to attend the Chehlum procession in Khanpur.

On Monday a pall of gloom hung over Khanpur as residents mourned their dead. Mass funeral prayers were offered for 14 of the victims. Over 100,000 mourners from all across south Punjab attended the funeral. The remaining dead were buried individually in their ancestral villages.

Police found another explosive device weighing two kilogrammes and wrapped in a polythene bag at a graveyard adjacent to the Imambargah Darbaar Hussain. The Bomb Disposal Squad was immediately called in to defuse the device.

“Perhaps the terrorists wanted to detonate the second bomb to target the funeral,” Jam Muhammad Aslam, Deputy Superintendent of Police, Special Branch, told The Express Tribune.

Sources said that a man was also detained for questioning in connection with the bombing. He was first roughed up by mourners and then handed him over to paramilitary rangers who shifted him to an unspecified place for interrogation.

Investigators revealed that Sunday’s bomb was concealed in a box strapped to the electricity pylon in which sacred papers were disposed of. Police are trying to track down the culprits.

Khanpur remained tense as rangers patrolled the streets amidst a shutter-down strike. Lawyers also boycotted court proceedings to register their protest against the carnage.

Protests were also staged in different towns and cities of Punjab on the call of Millat-e-Jafria, Imamia Student Organisation and Shia Ulema Council. They blamed the provincial government for ‘inadequate security’ at the procession route.

Published in The Express Tribune, January 17th, 2012.

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Reader Comments (6)

  • Abbas
    Jan 16, 2012 - 3:21PM

    What a scary job it is defusing bombs. Great job done by the brave individuals.

    Recommend

  • Asif Nizamani
    Jan 16, 2012 - 5:15PM

    Brave? There shouldn’t have been any bombs over there in the first place!!!

    Recommend

  • real face
    Jan 16, 2012 - 8:35PM

    all sorts of religius processions and majalis should be banned including the hateful leteratures.

    if some one is so much curious and keen about these processions and meetings, then they must hold them in doors and manage their own security and don blame government for such failures of their own.
    has the government asked you for such things???

    tablighi ijtema is held in lahore where millions of peoples participate, they arrange their own security.

    why can,t these people arrange their own security???

    either they should arrange their own security or they should stop such processions.Recommend

  • Noise
    Jan 16, 2012 - 10:27PM

    @real face
    They do arrange their own security. It just that people actually are out to kill them unlike the Tableeghis (who are part of the movement that bombs people).

    The Shia processions have been held for centuries and in the subcontinent all communities participate them like you can see in India where Sunni and Hindus and Sikh all join the processions. Recommend

  • Ali Wali
    Jan 17, 2012 - 12:09AM

    Pakistani Shia never accepted restrictions on religious marches even in the hail of bullets and bombing. As well as security is concerned the government should allow Shia to form their own defence force which is their long standing demand, or they should be provide robust security. In rural Northern Punjab where Shia are allowed to take security responsiblies into their own hand, the security is impeccable and extremely well organized.Recommend

  • Peace
    Jan 19, 2012 - 2:04AM

    @real face:
    What a illogical reason you have given,
    1) Bomb blast held in Masjid where will u shift masjid then?
    2) Blast went on markets will u take makets indoor?
    3) Blast was on Police centers will you also finish them?
    4) Terrorist attacked GHQ, MEHRAN BASE KHI will u say to forces kindly finish your bases as they are being attacked???

    And many more logical reasons are there for it, Dont turn the blind eye On reality N accept that it Is the Polices and the after math of Participation in Afghan-russia war as an US ally, Now those trained ppl are carrying attack within pakistan.

    Moreover y uptill now single terrorist has been sentenced to death by courts whether its mastermind of srilankan team attack or any other terror act . . . ???

    A Question for All . .

    Recommend

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