2017 Sehwan suicide bombing

2017 Sehwan suicide bombing
Part of the War in North-West Pakistan
Lal Shahbaz Mazaar inside view 6.JPG
An interior view of Lal Shahbaz Qalandar's shrine in 2014.
Sehwan is located in Sindh
Sehwan
Sehwan
Sehwan (Sindh)
Sehwan is located in Pakistan
Sehwan
Sehwan
Sehwan (Pakistan)
Location Sehwan Sharif, Sindh, Pakistan
Date 16 February 2017
Target Sufi pilgrims
Attack type
Suicide bombing
Weapons Suicide jacket,[1] grenade[2]
Deaths 82 (+1 bomber)[3][4][5][6]
Non-fatal injuries
250[7]
Assailants 1 suicide bomber
Suspected perpetrators
Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant – Khorasan Province[8] (claimed responsibility)

On 16 February 2017, a suicide bombing took place inside the Shrine of Lal Shahbaz Qalandar in Sehwan, Pakistan, where pilgrims were performing a Sufi ritual after the evening prayers.[2][8][9] At least 88 people were killed and over 270 injured.[10][11][12][13]

The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant – Khorasan Province claimed responsibility for the bombing.[8][14] Services at the shrine were resumed the next day in an act of defiance against terrorists,[15] while leading Pakistani performers partook in Sufi-dancing at the shrine a few days later as a protest against the radical Islamist perpetrators.[16]

The attack followed a series of terrorist incidents earlier in the month, including a suicide attack in Lahore. Pakistani authorities alleged that the attacks were orchestrated by jihadists in Afghanistan.[17]

Contents

BombingEdit

The suicide bomber struck the pilgrims during a dhamaal (ritual dance) after the evening prayers.[2] The perpetrator blew himself up inside the shrine hall under the dome, near its Golden Gate.[8] The bomber also threw a grenade which failed to explode.[2] The bomber, believed to be an Afghan national, had bypassed the security check at the shrine.[18]

At least 21 children were believed to be among the dead.[19] The bomber used a suicide jacket, with the ball bearings in the jacket acting as shrapnel and causing casualties.[1]

AftermathEdit

The injured and deceased were immediately shifted to the Taluka Medical Hospital[2] which was not equipped with a trauma centre to deal with emergency cases.[8] The medical facilities in Sehwan were basic, and some of the injured were in critical condition.[19][2] A state of emergency was declared for all hospitals in the neighbouring areas.[2] Pakistan Navy helicopters and a Pakistan Air Force aircraft C-130 were dispatched for rescue operations.[8]

Hours after the attack, law enforcement agencies launched a nationwide crackdown and search operation, during which over 100 militants were killed and scores arrested.[20] Several insurgents were confronted in Sindh and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. Weapons, including hand grenades, were recovered from their hideouts.[19] Police arrested a suspected facilitator in connection to the Sehwan attack from Johi, a town in Sindh's Dadu District.[18]

Resumption of daily servicesEdit

The next morning, the shrine's caretaker continued the daily tradition of ringing the shrine's bell at 3:30 A.M., and said that he would not be intimidated by terrorists.[21] The shrine's dhamaal, or meditative dancing ceremony, resumed the evening following the attack.[22] A few days later, several leading Pakistani artists and performers partook in a dhamaal at the shrine as a defiant response to radical Islamists.[23]

ReactionsEdit

DomesticEdit

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif condemned the blast,[8] and said that "an attack on the shrine of Lal Shahbaz Qalandar is an attack on the progressive and inclusive future of Pakistan."[2] A statement released by the military's Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) stated that the army chief, General Qamar Javed Bajwa, had ordered that immediate assistance be provided to civil authorities.[2] Bajwa said "Each drop of the nation's blood shall be revenged, and revenged immediately. No more restraint for anyone."[24]

The Governor of Sindh, Mohammad Zubair, condemned the blast and said "Sindh is a land of the Sufis. The terrorists have targeted the devotees to achieve their nefarious designs."[2] The Government of Sindh announced three days of mourning in Sindh, while the governments of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan also announced a day of mourning in their respective provinces.[25]

Strikes on Afghan campsEdit

ISPR spokesman, Major General Asif Ghafoor, tweeted: "Recent terrorist acts are being executed on directions from hostile powers and from sanctuaries in Afghanistan. We shall defend and respond".[24] A few hours after the incident, the Pakistan-Afghanistan border was sealed indefinitely for security reasons.[26][27][28] On 17 February, the Pakistan Army summoned Afghan embassy officials to the General Headquarters and handed over a list of 76 insurgents hiding in Afghanistan. The army demanded that Kabul take "immediate action" or have them "handed over to Pakistan".[17] The same day, army chief Qamar Javed Bajwa made a telephone call to the general commander of U.S. forces in Afghanistan, John W. Nicholson, and expressed concern over such incidents in Pakistan linked to safe havens in Afghanistan. Bajwa stated "Such terrorist activities and inaction against them are testing our current policy of cross border restraint" and urged Nicholson for cooperation in dismantling the militant networks, in addition to briefing him about the list of wanted terrorists.[29] Later, Pakistani security forces destroyed a dozen Jamaat-ul-Ahrar camps across the border in eastern Afghanistan, and killed over a dozen militants including a top trainer of suicide bombers.[30][31] The strikes were confirmed by Afghan sources, who said that several Pakistani artillery rounds had hit Nangarhar Province's Lal Pur District and that "15 to 20 terrorists, among them Commander Rehman Baba, have been killed and many more injured." The Afghan foreign ministry also protested the shelling by Pakistan on its territory.[32][33][34]

InternationalEdit

  •   Afghanistan: President Ashraf Ghani condemned the attack, stating that "terrorists once again proved that they have no respect for Islamic values".[35] Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah also condemned the attack and offered sympathy to the families of victims and people of Pakistan.[36]
  •   Belarus: Ambassador Andrei Ermolovich condemned the Sehwan blast while expressing solidarity with Pakistan. He also said that Belarus stands with Pakistan in its efforts for elimination of terrorism.[37]
  •   China: President Xi Jinping condemned the attack and offered sympathy to the Pakistani people. He said that China "will stand ready to firmly support Pakistan in its effort to fight terrorism, maintain national stability and safeguard its people”. Chinese Premier Li Keqiang also expressed shock and condemned the attack.[36]
  •   India: The Indian external affairs ministry strongly condemned the attack on the Lal Qalandar shrine at Sehwan and offered their sympathies to Pakistani people.[38][39]
  •   Japan: A statement issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said that “Japan is shocked and saddened by the suicide attack".[40][41]
  •   Kyrgyzstan: President Almazbek Atambayev expressed sorrow and offered condolences over the terrorist attack.[36]
  •   Russia: President Vladimir Putin expressed condolences over the incident, while reaffirming Russia's “readiness to further step up counter-terrorist cooperation" with Pakistan.[36][40]
  •   Tajikistan: President Emomali Rahmon offered condolence adding that the Tajik people "are deeply saddened by the tragic news".[40]
  •   United States: Acting State Department deputy spokesman Mark Toner said the U.S. condemned the suicide bombing and offered its "support to the Pakistani government as it works to bring the perpetrators of this crime to justice". He added: "We stand with the people of Pakistan in their fight against terrorism and remain committed to the security of the South Asia region."[42]

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b Hashmi, Talha (17 February 2017). "Sehwan suicide bomber was not female: CTD official Raja Umar Khattab". Geo TV. Retrieved 17 February 2017. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j "At least 70 dead as bomb rips through Lal Shahbaz shrine in Sehwan, Sindh". DAWN.COM. 16 February 2017. Retrieved 16 February 2017. 
  3. ^ "PM Nawaz, army chief visit Sehwan as death toll rises to 88". Express Tribune. 16 February 2017. Retrieved 18 February 2017. 
  4. ^ "Death toll in attack on Lal Shahbaz Qalandar shrine rises to 83". Dunya TV. 16 February 2017. Retrieved 20 February 2017. 
  5. ^ Zaidi, Mubashir (16 February 2017). "Pakistan cracks down on militants as blast toll rises". The Hindu. Retrieved 18 February 2017. 
  6. ^ Latief, Samiya (16 February 2017). "Sehwan blast: 100 killed in suicide attack at Sindhs Shahbaz Qalandar shrine; Pakistan-Afghanistan border shut". India Today. Retrieved 17 February 2017. 
  7. ^ "Over 70 martyred in suicide attack at shrine of Lal Shahbaz Qalandar". The International News. Retrieved 16 February 2017. 
  8. ^ a b c d e f g "Explosion inside Lal Shahbaz Qalandar shrine in Sehwan; at least 50 dead". Express Tribune. 16 February 2017. Retrieved 16 February 2017. 
  9. ^ "At least 72 killed in Lal Shahbaz Qalandar shrine blast". Samaa TV. 16 February 2017. Retrieved 17 February 2017. 
  10. ^ "Death toll of Sehwan shrine blast reached 88". 
  11. ^ "57 killed as suicide bomber hits Lal Shahbaz Qalandar's shrine in Sehwan". ARY News. 16 February 2017. Retrieved 16 February 2017. 
  12. ^ "Blast tears through shrine in Sehwan, at least 50 dead". The Nation (Pakistan). 16 February 2017. Retrieved 16 February 2017. 
  13. ^ "At least 72 martyred in bombing at Lal Shahbaz Qalandar shrine". Geo News. 16 February 2017. Retrieved 16 February 2017. 
  14. ^ "At least 100 killed, dozens more injured in blast at Pakistan shrine - police". RT (TV network). 
  15. ^ "37 terrorists killed in security crackdown after Sehwan bombing". The News. 17 February 2016. Retrieved 21 February 2017. At 3.30 am the shrine´s caretaker stood among the carnage and defiantly rang its bell, a daily ritual that he vowed to continue, telling AFP he will "not bow down to terrorists". 
  16. ^ "Pakistani artists perform dhamaal at Sehwan shrine after suicide attack". HIndustan Times. 21 February 2017. Retrieved 22 February 2017. Kermani told reporters the idea behind her dance "was to tell the perpetrators of terrorism that nobody can stop dance and music. These are part of our heritage, our culture." The artist said she intended to perform ‘dhamaal’, the ecstatic spiritual dance which the saint used to perform in his life. 
  17. ^ a b "Pakistan asks Afghanistan to handover 76 terrorists immediately". Express Tribune. 17 February 2017. Retrieved 17 February 2017. 
  18. ^ a b "Sehwan attacker bypassed security check in CCTV footage: police". Dawn (newspaper). 19 February 2017. Retrieved 20 February 2017. 
  19. ^ a b c "Over 25 killed in crackdown after attack on Lal Shahbaz Qalandar shrine". DAWN.COM. 17 February 2017. Retrieved 17 February 2017. 
  20. ^ "More than 100 suspects killed in intelligence-based operations, claims ISPR". DAWN.COM. 17 February 2017. Retrieved 17 February 2017. 
  21. ^ "37 terrorists killed in security crackdown after Sehwan bombing". The News. 17 February 2016. Retrieved 17 February 2017. At 3.30 am the shrine´s caretaker stood among the carnage and defiantly rang its bell, a daily ritual that he vowed to continue, telling AFP he will "not bow down to terrorists". 
  22. ^ "Pakistan's Sufis defiant after Islamic State attack on shrine kills 83". Reuters. 17 February 2017. Retrieved 17 February 2017. 
  23. ^ "Pakistani artists perform dhamaal at Sehwan shrine after suicide attack". HIndustan Times. 21 February 2017. Retrieved 22 February 2017. 
  24. ^ a b "Army chief Bajwa vows revenge for Sehwan attacks: 'No more restraint'". DAWN.COM. 16 February 2017. Retrieved 16 February 2017. 
  25. ^ "Sehwan blast; A three-day mourning in Sindh". Samaa TV. 17 February 2017. Retrieved 17 February 2017. 
  26. ^ "Security concerns prompt closure of Pak-Afghan border". Geo News. 17 February 2017. Retrieved 17 February 2017. 
  27. ^ "Pakistan-Afghanistan border closed over security reasons: ISPR". Samaa TV. 16 February 2017. Retrieved 17 February 2017. 
  28. ^ "Pak-Afghan border closed for indefinite period: ISPR". The News International. 16 February 2017. Retrieved 17 February 2017. 
  29. ^ "Terrorism from Afghanistan testing our policy of restraint, COAS tells US Commander". The News. 17 February 2017. Retrieved 17 February 2017. 
  30. ^ "Pakistani forces pound terrorist camps in Afghanistan". The News. 18 February 2017. Retrieved 18 February 2017. 
  31. ^ "Pakistan Army reportedly destroys JuA compound in Afghanistan". The Nation (Pakistan). 18 February 2017. Retrieved 18 February 2017. 
  32. ^ "Pakistan shells hit eastern Afghanistan after shrine attack". SBS News. 17 February 2017. Retrieved 18 February 2017. 
  33. ^ "Pak-Afghan border: Trainer of suicide bombers killed in artillery shelling". The Express Tribune. 19 February 2017. Retrieved 20 February 2017. 
  34. ^ "In pictures: TTP, JuA camps being decimated in artillery shelling". The Express Tribune. 19 February 2017. Retrieved 20 February 2017. 
  35. ^ "Afghan president condemns ISIS attack in Pakistan". The Nation (Pakistan). 17 February 2017. Retrieved 18 February 2017. 
  36. ^ a b c d "UN, US, China, Russia, others condemn shrine attack". The News International. 18 February 2017. Retrieved 18 February 2017. 
  37. ^ "Belarus Ambassador condemns Lahore, Sehwan blasts". Radio Pakistan. 17 February 2017. Retrieved 20 February 2017. 
  38. ^ "India condemns suicide attack at Pak's Lal Shabhaz Qalandar shrine". Business Standard. ANI. 17 February 2017. Retrieved 22 February 2017. 
  39. ^ "World condemns Sehwan attack". Tribune. 18 February 2016. Retrieved 22 February 2017. 
  40. ^ a b c "World condemns Sehwan attack". Express Tribune. Associated Press of Pakistan. 18 February 2017. Retrieved 18 February 2017. 
  41. ^ "Japan condemns Sehwan blast". Daily Times (Pakistan). 17 February 2017. Retrieved 18 February 2017. 
  42. ^ "US offers support to Pakistan after terror attacks". Khaleej Times. 18 February 2017. Retrieved 18 February 2017.