It was the third sectarian attack on the minority community in as many days in the port city of Karachi and came inspite of police and security agencies enforcing a massive vigil over the traditional procession route.
Sagheer Ahmed, the Health Minister of Sindh province, told Geo News channel that over 30 bodies and more than 60 injured people were received at hospitals.
The terror attack came close on the heels of a militant bombing that killed eight people in Pakistan-Occupied-Kashmir capital of Muzaffarabad and Karachi on Sunday night.
Karachi Police chief Waseem Ahmed said it was a suicide attack. “We have retrieved a head of a bomber which confirms it was a suicide attack,” he told the media. The procession was headed towards a nearby imambargah. Dense smoke rose from the site as people ran in panic.
Appealing for calm, Karachi Mayor Mustafa Kamal said, “I want to appeal to the people, to my brothers, my elders to stay calm. I am hearing people are clashing with police and doctors. Please do not do that. That is what terrorists are aiming at. They want to see this city again on fire.”
Ambulances rushed the injured to nearby hospitals, where an emergency was declared. A large police contingent was guarding the procession and sharp shooters were deployed on rooftops on key roads. However, the bomber managed to evade the security ring.
No group has claimed responsibility for the attack.
The procession continued towards its destination despite the blast as many women broke down and wept.
Angry mourners resorted to attacking the media and police personnel. They also torched five cars.
President Asif Ali Zardari, and Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani condemned the blast and appealed for calm.