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Agencies | Nov 14, 2016, 02.30 AM IST

Baloch leader claims Pakistan is helping Daesh spread

NEW DELHI Baloch nationalist leader Naela Baloch on Sunday blamed Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and Army Chief General Raheel Sharif for the attack on the Shah Noorani shrine in Balochistan.

Naela said this was an endeavour of the Pakistan government to help Daesh strengthen its roots in Balochistan.

The Shah Noorani shrine holds great importance, people from across the world come here to pray. It is a very sacred soil. This is an endeavour to help Daesh strengthen their roots in Balochistan. And, even the Pakistani Army and its government are trying to help Daesh spread across Balochistan. This attack was done by Raheel Sharif and Nawaz Sharif,” she said.

At least 52 people were killed and over 100 others wounded when a teenage suicide bomber blew himself up in a packed-to-capacity courtyard of the Shah Noorani shrine in the remote mountainous region of Khuzdar district of Balochistan on Saturday evening. According to reports, the Islamic State has claimed responsibility for the attack.

Abdur Rasool, an official at the province’s home ministry, said rescuers were transporting the wounded to hospitals and the dead to local morgues, but were struggling in the difficult mountainous terrain, some 350 kilometres south of the provincial capital, Quetta.

The blast targeted worshippers as they were in the throes of their devotional “dhamal” dance, and the courtyard at the time was packed with families, women and children.

Daesh’s statement on the Aamaq news agency said the suicide attack had targeted ‘Shiites.’ The shrine is frequented by both Pakistan’s Sunni Muslim majority and Shiite minority. Daesh considers all Shiite Muslims heretics.

The blast comes ahead of the Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s preplanned trip to the province on Monday, where he will see off the first Chinese shipping consignment to Africa from Gwadar port.

Baluchistan home minister Sarfaraz Bugti, citing a lack of cellular services in the affected area, said the situation will be much clearer in the morning. He said over 500 people were present in the courtyard of the shrine when the blast happened.

A female witness, who was not identified by name, told the GEO television channel that a “big bang” took place in the midst of the dhamal dance in the shrine’s courtyard. “I don’t know how I escaped unhurt,” she said. “It was like hell all around.”


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