An explosion in a procession being carried by Shia Muslims on the occasion of Muharram in the Punjab province of Pakistan on Thursday has killed at least three and left at least 59 people injured.
Shia leader Khawar Shafqat confirmed that the blast took place when the procession was passing through a congested neighborhood of Bahawalnagar located in the eastern Punjab province.
WARNING: Graphic Content— Voice of Pakistan Minority (@voice_minority) August 19, 2021
Just in: A blast has been reported at the #Ashura Jaloos in Bahawalnagar, #Punjab. As the procession approached the Mohajer Colony Mosque, a loud explosion was heard. Pray for everyone’s safety. pic.twitter.com/37oosJhaE0
Matters worsened as the authorities had suspended mobile phone services across the country a day prior just ahead of the Ashura which hampered the communication.
Several videos of the attacker who hurled crackers on the procession are also doing the rounds on social media. (Graphic visuals)
The alleged attacker who hurled a cracker on ashora procession in Bahawalnagar has been arrested by police. The cracker blast reportedly killed five mourners and several injured.#bahawalnagar #عاشوراء#عاشوراءِ_حسینیؑ— Syeda المسلمہ (@SyedaZ_) August 19, 2021
The attacker has reportedly been arrested.
Meanwhile, the situation is said to be tensed in the area with the Shia leader demanding heightened security for other planned processions.
Ashura marks the 10th day of Muharram, the first month of the Islamic calendar followed by all Muslims. Prophet Muhammad used to fast on this day in Mecca, after which it became a common tradition and is followed by Sunni Muslims who fast voluntarily.
For the Shia, however, it is a major religious event to commemorate the death of Husayn Ibn Ali al-Hussein, the grandson of the Prophet Muhammad, who died at the Battle of Karbala in 680 AD.