KARACHI: On Friday, Shikarpur district was rocked with a powerful blast inside the Imam Bargah Karbala-e-Mualla of Lakkhi Dar. So far 61 people have lost their lives while 50 are injured.
Some critically injured were shifted to Karachi in a private hospital. Among those admitted in Karachi, two breathe their last on Friday night. The recent Shikarpur massacre was the third biggest incident in the history of terrorism in Sindh province.
On June 6, 1963 an Ashura procession was attacked in Therhi area of Khairpur. 118 people including innocent children were brutally slaughtered. Khairpur is the adjoining district of Shikarpur.
The second attack was carried out, when Chairperson of Pakistan Peoples’ Party Benazir Bhutto landed in Karachi on October 18, 2007. She was targeted when her cavalcade reached at Karsaz Shahra-e-Faisal. Reportedly in the suicide attack, 144 people were killed and more than 400 were injured.
Talking to Geo News, former Senior Superintendent of Police [SSP] Shikarpur said that after Karachi, Shikarpur is the only district of Sindh province which is facing the menace of terrorism. History proves it too.
On December 21, 2009 a suicide bomber tried to enter in Ashura procession of Ibrahim Jatoi area. He was intercepted and was gunned down by security guards. His suicide vest was exploded and four policemen were injured. The Dargah Ghulam Shah Ghazi in the village of Maari was targeted in bomb attack on February 25, 2013. Six people including the Gaddi Nasheen [Custodian] of the Dargah Syed Hajan Shah, his two children and three women were injured in the attack. Syed Hajan Shah succumbed to injuries after eight days.
Two months later, in another incident, a candidate of National Peoples’ Party NA-202 Ibrahim Jatoi's vehicle was attacked on May 1, 2013. Fortunately, he survived the attack. Last year on November 12, a religious scholar Mulana Shahfqat Abbas Mutaheri was gunned down in Khanpur area of the same district. Police arrested two assailants of banned outfit.
On the condition of anonymity, the former SSP of Shikarpur disclosed “banned outfits are trying to establish and strengthening their network in Interior Sindh, for that matter, they are targeting everyone who stands and is against their thoughts”.
A senior intelligence official who has served in nearby area of Shikarpur said that elements who are involved in terrorist activities in Balochistan, regularly visit Shikarpur and trying to embolden its foothold.
“Selecting easier targets, now they are soften up the border areas of Sindh to archive their goals,” he revealed.
“The timing is very important when the Prime Minster of Pakistan was present in Karachi, the capital of Sindh province”.
Syed Arfeen is an investigative journalist of Geo News and can be reached at Twitter: @arfeensyyed