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Death toll in Karachi bombing rises to 57

Written by: Staff
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Islamabad, Apr 12 (UNI) Situation remained highly volatile in the port city of Karachi with relatives of victims preparing for funeral as the death toll after a suicide bomb blast at a Sunni Muslim prayer meeting rose to 57.

Police and para-military troops were patrolling the city as the death toll, according to English-language DAWN newspaper surged to 57 with over 100 injured.

Hundreds of people had assembled at the Karachi Nishtar Park yesterday to celebrate the birth anniversary of Prophet Mohammad and were preparing to offer 'Maghrib' prayers when the blast occurred.

Four victims including leaders of Jamat Ahl-e-Sunnat (JAS) were buried today as markets, shopping centers, educational institutions and Karachi stock exchange remained closed to mourn the colossal loss of lives in the deadly bombing.

Police and para-military troops were patrolling the city as the death toll, according to English-language DAWN newspaper surged to 57.

Provincial spokesman, Sallahuddin Haider, also confirmed the casualty figure and said some people are still missing. Several journalists covering the event also sustained injuries.

''Our initial investigations point to at least two suicide bombers involved in the attack. We have found body parts which probably belong to the suspected attackers,'' Mr Haider told reporters in Karachi.

Four JAS leaders - Haji Hanif Khan Billu, Hafiz Muhammad Taqi, Iftikhar Bhatti and Maulana Abbas Qadri - were also among those killed in the blast.

Meanwhile, angry mobs torched two gas stations at a busy Karachi road and damaged a heavy vehicle near the site of the blast.

A state of emergency has been declared in the hospitals.

President General Pervez Musharraf has ordered an inquiry into the incident and condemned the dastardly act of terrorism, which he said was committed by enemies of Pakistan and Muslims.

This was the second major incident in Karachi in last three days. At least 30 women and children were killed and nearly 50 others wounded last Sunday in a stampede at a religious gathering held in the port city in connection with the birth anniversary celebrations of Prophet Mohammed.

UNI XC PR HT1655

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