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Lal Shahbaz Qalandar shrine attack: History and importance of this place of worship in Pakistan

The blast took place during Dhamal – a Sufi ritual - when hundreds of devotees were present inside the premises of the vast mausoleum of the saint, according to the police.

lal shahbaz qalandar, lal shahbaz qalandar attack, lal shahbaz qalandar shrine attack, Sehwan, Sindh, pakistan, world news FILE PHOTO: A woman clad in burqa walks in the hallway of the tomb of Sufi saint Syed Usman Marwandi, also known as Lal Shahbaz Qalandar, in Sehwan Sharif, in Pakistan’s southern Sindh province, September 5, 2013. REUTERS/Akhtar Soomro/File Photo

A deadly terror attack near the shrine of revered Sufi Lal Shahbaz Qalandar, at the heart of the town of Sehwan in Sindh province, killed several dozens and injured hundreds on Thursday. This blast is the fifth in the country within a week. According to reports, Islamic State’s Khorasan Province group claimed responsibility for the attack. Initial reports suggest it was a suicide bombing on the portion reserved for women in the shrine, the Dawn reported, quoting SSP Jamshoro Tariq Wilayat.

WATCH VIDEO | Blast Near Sindh’s Lal Qalandar Sufi Shrine In Pakistan Kills Atleast 75 People

The blast took place during Dhamal – a Sufi ritual – when hundreds of devotees were present inside the premises of the vast mausoleum of the saint, according to the police. Devotees gather at the shrine of the revered Sufi saint every Thursday to participate in a dhamaal and prayers. The attack on shrine came a day after Pakistan vowed to “liquidate” all those elements posing a threat to peace and security in the country amid a spurt in terror attacks.

The shrine has been named after the famous Sufi saint Lal Shahbaz Qalandar, who lays buried there. Lal Shahbaz Qalandar was a Sufi philosopher-poet of present-day Afghanistan and Pakistan. The shrine is called Lal (Red) after the saint’s usual red attire, Shahbaz to denote a noble and divine spirit.

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Lal Shahbaz Qalandar’s shrine holds much importance in Pakistan. A large number of people visit the shrine on Thursdays, paying homage to the Sufi saint. Lal Shahbaz Qalandar in his life taught people about true Islam. In most of his teachings, which is clear from his poetry, he emphasised on following Imam Ali and mourning for Imam-e-Hussain. It is said that Lal Shahbaz Qalandar reigned for 7 years.

The famous song ‘Dum a Dum Mast Qalandar’, among several other songs, has been inspired from this shrine.

It is not a rare scenario in Pakistan where Sufi shrines are targeted. The Tehreek-e-Taliban militants have frequently targeted Sufi shrines across Pakistan. More than 25 shrines across the country have been attacked since 2005, according to reports.

First published on: 16-02-2017 at 22:35 IST
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