Karachi: Two suicide bombers on Thursday struck venerated Sufi shrine of Abdullah Shah Ghazi in Pakistani port city Karachi, killing at least 10 people and wounding 60 others in the latest in a slew of attacks on sacred places.
The blasts occurred on Thursday evening in quick succession at the entrance of the packed shrine of Abdullah Shah Ghazi, considered to be patron saint of Karachi and is revered by millions of people.
No group claimed responsibility for the blasts though the Taliban are opposed to shrines dedicated to Sufi saints. The shrine located in the upmarket area of Clifton in this Pakistan's financial capital was packed with thousands of devotees, who had gathered on Thursday, considered an auspicious day, to offer prayers and distribute langar (food).
"Until now we have reports of ten casualties and around 60 people have been wounded and shifted to hospitals in these suicide attacks," Home Minister of Sindh province Zulfiqar Ali Mirza told the media outside the shrine.
"They were suicide attacks. One of the suicide bomber was stopped at the outer gate and blew himself up while his associate managed to run through to the inner entrance where security staff overpowered him but he blew himself up," Mirza said.
The second bomber blew himself up at a spot where visitors keep their shoes before entering the shrine.
Two heads, believed to be of the bombers, have been recovered from the blasts site where severed limbs and human flesh littered the ground, he said.
Mirza said that since the suicide attacks at the Data Darbar shrine in Lahore in July security had been beefed up at the Abdullah Shah shrine as well and the suicide bombers were intercepted at the walk through gates but blew themselves up.
Simi Jamali, the medical superintendent of Jinnah Hospital, told reporters that they had admitted over 50 people and several of the injured were in a critical condition.
"The casualties could rise because the rescue services are still bringing in the wounded and injured," she said.
Doctors said women and children were among the injured. The Abdullah Shah Ghazi shrine was evacuated after the blasts and authorities ordered the closure of all shrines in Karachi as a precautionary measure.
Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani strongly condemned the blasts at the shrine.
"Such heinous acts of violence are a reflection of deranged minds of terrorists who have no regard for humanity.
These elements do not believe in any religion and only want to create disruption in society," Gilani said in a statement.
Gilani directed law enforcement agencies to probe the incident and submit a report to him.
Karachi has been the target of suicide attacks in recent times and Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan's top commander Quari Hussain, known for training suicide bombers, had warned that the Taliban would carry out attacks in Karachi.
In December last year and February this year, suicide bombers targeted Shia Muslim processions in separate incidents here in which over 70 people were killed.