Yet another sectarian attack took place in Pakistan today, when a remote controlled bomb was detonated against a crowd of Shi’ite mourners in the city of Khanpur, killing at least 18 and wounding 50 others.
The mourners were participating in the Shi’ite commemoration of Chehlum, or Arba’een, which commemorates the Battle of Karbala in 680. Large numbers of pilgrims go to Karbala, Iraq each year for the day, and large marches also take place among Shi’ite communities around the world.
Police initially insisted the major blast was simply “an electrical fault” but later conceded it was a bomb. Protesters clashed with police in the wake of the attack, saying they weren’t protecting the nation’s Shi’ite minority from attacks.
So far no group has claimed credit for the attack, but a number of anti-Shi’ite factions are operating inside Pakistan and such attacks have grown increasingly common over the past few years.