Islamabad, Apr 12: A powerful blast during a religious congregation in the port city of Karachi killed at least 47 people and injured several others last evening.
Hundreds of people had assembled at the Karachi Nishtar Park to celebrate the birth anniversary of Prophet Mohammad and were preparing to offer 'Maghrib' prayers when the blast occurred.
Interior Minister Aftab Ahmad Khan Sherpao confirmed 40 deaths but eye-witnesses claimed the blast left at least 47 dead, including two leaders of Jamat-e-Ahl-e-Sunnat (JAS), which had organised the congregation. The bomb was planted underneath a stage at Nishtar Park where a religious congregation had gathered.
The injured have been admitted to local hospitals.
Reports from other parts of the city claim that an angry mob torched two gas stations at a busy Karachi road and a heavy vehicle near the site of the blast.
President General Pervez Musharraf has ordered an inquiry into the incident and condemned the act of terrorism.
This was the second major incident in Karachi in the last three days. At least 30 women and children were killed and nearly 50 others were wounded in last Sunday's stampede at a religious gathering held in the port city.