Six people, including three women, were killed early Monday morning when a bomb exploded at one of Pakistan's largest Sufi shrines, police officials told CNN. AFP reports that four have died, while eight others were wounded. The bomb was placed at the eastern gate of the Baba Farid shrine and exploded shortly after Fajr prayers when crowds of morning worshipers usually leave the site, police said.
The bomb was planted in a milk container on a motorcycle, city police chief Mohammad Kashif told Reuters by telephone. The attack was the latest in the heartland province of Punjab. “According to initial reports, two unidentified men dressed in shalwar kameez came on the motorcycle and parked it near the gate just minutes before the blast,” he said. The explosive device was remote-controlled.
The shrine is located in Pakpattan, an ancient city in Punjab province about 190 km (118 miles) south of Lahore. Baba Farid is considered one of Pakistan's most revered Sufi saints. At least a 100 people have been reported to be present at the time of the blast. The injured are being taken to the District Headquarters hospital in Pakpattan. At least eight injured people are said to be in critical condition.
According to the Regional Police Officer, the shrine has been shut down and security forces have cordoned off the area.
No one has claimed responsibility for the blast. But in recent months Muslim extremists and the TTP have stepped up attacks against minority sects and their places of worship. Taliban militants have in the past attacked Sufi shrines, most notably in Lahore and recently in Karachi as well.
In one of the deadliest strikes, a bomb blast in July at the Data Darbar in Lahore killed more than 40 people. Eight people, including two children were killed in an attack at Shah Ghazi's shrine in the teeming port city of Karachi on October 8.
Police officials said eight people were injured in Monday morning's blast.