Three dead as bomb hits Ashura procession in Bahawalnagar


LAHORE:

At least three people were killed and over 50 injured on Thursday after a bomb ripped through a Muharram procession in Punjab’s Bahawalnagar district.

Security was high across the country as Youm-e-Ashur, the 10th of Muharram, is being observed on Thursday with due solemnity to pay homage to the supreme sacrifice rendered by Hazrat Imam Hussain (RA) and his companions at Karbala.

“We have confirmation of three dead and 50 injured from the blast at the procession site,” said a senior government official in Bahawalnagar.

Social media videos showed bleeding victims lying on a road being helped by members of the public.

A local police officer, Kashif Hussain, also confirmed the death toll to AFP.

“The nature of the explosion is not yet clear as a team is still collecting evidence from the scene,” he said.

Authorities have suspended mobile phone services in major cities as a security measure during Ashura processions.

Residents in many urban centres were experiencing signal jams on Thursday. The streets leading to procession routes were also blocked.

The procession later resumed and people continued with the ceremonies, the officials said.

Punjab Law Minister Raja Basharat said in a tweet that the Police Counter-Terrorism Department (CTD) has been directed to submit a report of the incident after completing a combing operation and inquiry.

Meanwhile, Punjab Chief Minister Usman Buzdar visited Safe City Authority headquarters and reviewed security arrangements for Ashura processions and was briefed on the tragic incident in Bahawalnagar.

CM Buzdar also expressed sorrow over the incident and directed the police chief to submit a report after completing the inquiry into the incident.

(With additional input from AFP)




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