At least 22 people, mostly children, were killed and 40 injured when a suicide bomber targeted a Muharram procession in Jacobabad in Pakistan's Sindh province, on Saturday. Just a day earlier, a suicide bomber, disguised as a woman, targeted a Shia mosque in the southwestern Balochistan province, killing at least 10 people.
"We were some three kilometers from the spot and heard the blast. We rushed towards the spot and saw people running here and there, some were crying and wailing. We could see blood on the clothes of some people," said Jan Odhano, an eye witness and rights activist in the city to AFP. The dead and the injured have been shifted to the Civil Hospital in Jacobabad, where an emergency-like situation has been declared.
The suicide bomber is reported to have attacked a Shia procession of over 300 people, including children and women, who were passing through a six-feet wide alley. Soon after the attacks, angry protestors took to the streets throwing stones at policemen and burning vehicles. They complained that not enough was being done to protect the minority Shias.
Although Thursday's attack was later claimed by a Sunni Muslim militant group, Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, no group has yet claimed responsibility for Friday's bombing. A Jacobabad police official, Malik Zafar Iqbal Awan, who is overseeing the investigation, told the Dawn, "Police have recovered lower part of the body of the possible suicide bomber from the site which may give us some leads."
The attack came despite extra security measures in the run-up to the Ashura festival significant for Shia Muslims. Mobile services had been jammed after Thursday's attack itself and check posts have been increased since then.
Pakistan's Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, who is on a scheduled visit to the US, has expressed "deep grief and sorrow" over the attack, and ordered a special investigation into the incident. Sindh Chief Minister Syed Qaim Ali Shah also strongly condemned the blast and expressed a deep sense of sorrow.