DADU: At least 70 people were killed and 250 others were wounded when a suicide bomber struck Lal Shahbaz Qalandar Shrine in Sehwan Sharif on Thursday.

According to media reports, children and women were among the victims. The death toll is feared to go up as many of the injured are in critical condition.  The explosion took place at the spot where the dhamaal (Sufi ritual) was being performed, within the premises of the shrine.

At the time of the blast, there were thousands of people gathered at the spot to view the performance. The sufi shrine is frequented by thousands of devotees and pilgrims on a daily basis. According to reports reaching here, more than 250 people, including children and women, have been injured in the suicide blast.

The explosion was heard far and wide in Sehwan Sharif town. Hyderabad Commissioner Qazi Shahid Pervaiz confirmed that there were reports of blast at the shrine. "Emergency has been declared in all hospitals of Hyderabad, Jamshoro and Sehwan Sharif," he said.

The commissioner said that the blast took place outside the shrine.

The injured are being shifted to Liauqat Medical College, Jamshoro and other hospitals of Dadu and Hyderabad. Edhi Foundation chief Faisal Edhi said that all ambulances in the nearby cities were sent to Sehwan Sharif to transport the injured to hospitals.

It was worth mentioned here that in November last year, a suicide blast at Shah Noorani shrine killed 52 people and injured more than 100. 

Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif have expressed sorrow and grief over the blast in Sehwan Sharif. In his statement, he said such type of incidents cannot deter the resolve of the nation to defeat common enemies. He said such type of incidents cannot divide the nation. Terming it an attack on Pakistan's integrity, Prime Minister vowed to protect the nation at all costs against such menace.

Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa has directed immediate assistance to the victims of Sehwan blast. According to ISPR, Army and Rangers have moved to the spot along with medical support. Combine Military Hospital (CMH) Hyderabad has completed all arrangements and is ready for the treatment of the injured.