Friday Feb 17, 2017
SEHWAN: It’s a clash of ideologies: hate versus love, people thirsty for blood versus those who wake up every morning with the simple wish to be allowed to live life on their own terms.
It was with this defiance in their minds, and the faith that Lal Saeen will protect them, devotees from across Sindh gathered at the shrine—crying, screaming, begging to be allowed in—a day after a suicide attack killed at least 88.
Breaking all security barriers, some devotees managed to enter the premises. Others ran out on the streets, pelting stones at police vans, in the shape of a mob.
The caretaker of the shrine, told AFP, that he will not bow down to terrorists. He was up at 3:30 am, standing amidst the carnage, defiantly ringing the shrine’s bell, a daily ritual he vowed to continue till his last breath.
Devotees at the shrine say they were praying when the blast occurred.
“I was praying when the blast went off. There were bodies everywhere,” an eyewitness told Geo News.
“I had raised my hand in prayers when I heard the blast. We were eight. One of us is no more,” said another eyewitness, his kurta drenched in blood.
Pir Waqar, a hotel owner at Sehwan told Geo.tv over the phone he was in his room when he heard the blast and then smoke rising from his window overlooking the shrine. “We helped in rescue work all night. My hotel was filled with the injured.”
Lamenting the state of hospitals in the area, he said, “You cannot get treatment for anything more than fever there.”
The shrine of Sufi saint Lal Shahbaz Qalandar, a place welcome to all regardless of their religion, was built in 1356 in honour of one of Sindh’s most revered poet, philosopher and Sufi saint.
It is believed that the saint, originally from Persia, resided in Sindh during the 13th century. Lal Shahbaz Qalandar or ‘Laal Saeen’ (as known to his followers) preached peace and tolerance.