Rallies condemn suicide attack in Pakistan as death toll rises
IRNA - Islamic Republic News Agency
Islamabad, April 6, IRNA - A protest meeting in the Pakistani port city of Karachi and some other cities Sunday condemned the suicide attack on Shiite Muslims as death toll from the attack raised to 24.
A suicide bomber blew himself up near a largely-attended annual ‘majlis’ in the city of Chakwal in Punjab at around 12:30 PM.
Police said over 60 people were also injured, dozens of them critically.
Imamia Students Organization held a protest meeting at ‘Masjid-e-Khurasan’ after ‘Nimaz-e-Maghraben’ and the participants condemned the ‘sectarian terrorism’ in Chakwal.
The participants also criticized the government for failure to protect the lives of the common citizens. They said more protest rallies will be organized across the country to condemn the terrorist act.
No group claimed responsibility for the blast. However, the government says that the Taliban-linked militants may be behind the attack.
Police said over 1000 Shia Muslims were busy in a religious gathering when the bomber struck them after the guards tried to stop him from entering the mosque.
Protest rallies were also organized in Chakwal and the participants strongly criticized the local administration for taking no security measures in the wake of terrorism in the country.
Hundreds of people staged demonstration in Multan city. They condemned the attack and said the government is unable to maintain peace in the country. Rallies were also held in other cities. The attack was widely condemned in the country and religious leaders said that the attack was aimed at creating rift among Muslims.
Shiite leaders called for calm to frustrate designs of those who are trying to foment sectarian hatred.
President Asif Ali Zardari Sunday strongly condemned the bomb blast at a religious gathering in Chakwal.
The President deplored the attack and said such acts were being masterminded by people who were against the state and wanted to bring a bad name to the religion.
He directed authorities to find the perpetrators to award them exemplary punishment and best possible medical treatment to the injured.
Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani, opposition leader Nawaz Sharif and other political leaders also condemned the suicide attack and said the terrorist act claimed lives of innocent people.
Officials in Chakwal has announced holiday on Monday to pay homage to those killed in the blast. All government and private offices and markets will be closed.
Funeral of the slain people will also be held on Monday and the bodies will later be sent to their respective areas.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani has summoned a high level meeting on the country's law and order situation here on Monday.
All the four chief ministers of provinces would attend the meeting.
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