South Asia

Six killed by bomb at Sufi shrine in Pakistan's Punjab

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Media captionThe BBC's Aleem Maqbool said there had been three major attacks on shrines in the last few months

Six people have been killed in a bomb outside a famous Sufi shrine in Pakistan's Punjab province.

Two young men left the device in a milk churn on a motorbike near the gate of the shrine of Baba Farid, a 12th century Sufi saint, in Pakpattan.

The bomb exploded minutes later killing at least one woman and leaving 15 other people wounded, some critically.

It is the latest attack on Sufis, who follow a mystical strand of Islam, but are deemed heretical by extremists.

Witnesses said the bomb caused a huge fireball as it went off after morning prayers, which hundreds of people were attending.

Police suspect the device, which also damaged several shops, was detonated by remote control.

The marble mausoleum of Baba Farid itself was largely unscathed, said police.

TV footage showed the twisted and charred motorcycle on which the bomb was planted, and debris from the shops damaged by the explosion.

A doctor at the local hospital told the Associated Press news agency that two women were among the dead.

A prominent Sufi scholar, Mufti Muneebur Rehman, accused the government of not doing enough to protect his community.

"Our rulers are too busy serving foreign masters and have not prioritised protecting the people and sacred places from terrorists," Mr Rehman told reporters.

There has been no claim of responsibility, but similar attacks have been carried out by Taliban militants.

Earlier this month, two suicide bombers targeted the most beloved Sufi shrine in Pakistan's largest city, Karachi, killing nine people.

And more than 40 people died in an attack on a Sufi shrine in Lahore in July.

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