At least nine people were killed and 25 others injured after a powerful blast outside Pakistan’s famous Sufi shrine Data Darbar in Lahore. According to initial police reports, the explosion took place close to two police vehicles near Gate 2 of Data Darbar. The nature and exact target of the explosion is yet to be ascertained. Rescue operations are underway. The blast comes as the country marks the fasting month of Ramzan.
Data Darbar shrine
Data Darbar, located in Pakistan’s Lahore city, is one of the oldest Sufi shrines in South Asia. Considered to be one of the most sacred places in Lahore, the shrine houses the remains of Sufi saint Abul Hassan Ali Hujwiri, commonly known as Data Ganj Baksh. He is said to have lived on the site in the 11th century and was reputed to have miraculous powers.
Data Darbar attracts a lot of visitors to its annual Urs festival. The Urs marks the death anniversary of the Sufi saint.
According to the BBC, the shrine was originally established as a simple grave next to the mosque which Hujwiri had built on the outskirts of Lahore in the 11th century. It was later expanded in the 13th century to commemorate the burial site of Hujwiri after his spiritual powers became popular.
For centuries, the shrine has seen visitors from all religions. Pakistan’s former prime minister Nawaz Sharif is also a frequent visitor to the shrine.
In 2010, two suicide bombers detonated their explosive vests outside the shrine, killing close to 50 people. More than 200 people were injured in the blasts