JNN 16 Jan 2012 Rahim Yar Khan : About Eighteen people died and more than 30 others were injured when an explosion ripped through a Chehlum procession in Khanpur , 46km from Rahimyar Khan, Punjab on Sunday.
Rescue personnel who took the injured and the bodies to hospitals put the death toll at 18, but the district administration said the confirmed toll was 14.
According to police, the blast took place when people were leaving Darbar-i-Hussainia on Shahi Road near the city police station to join the procession.
The Regional Police Officer for Bahawalpur, Mohammad Abid Qadri, claimed initially that an electric transformer had exploded, but no transformer was found on nearby poles. An electricity pole, however, fell after the blast and it was feared that a remote-control bomb might have been planted there.
A Khanpur-based journalist said a head and a leg found at the site of the blast suggested that it could be a suicide attack.
The injured were taken to tehsil headquarters hospital in Khanpur. More than 20 seriously injured people were later shifted to Sheikh Zayed Medical College Hospital in Rahim Yar Khan.
Rescue 1122 personnel from Rahim Yar Khan reached Khanpur an hour after the blast to support the local administration.
District Coordination Officer Dr Ahmed Javed Qazi and District Police Officer Sohail Zafar Chattha reached the place and the DPO said the evidence suggested that it was a bomb attack and not a transformer accident.
Rangers were called in to help the local administration and police to control the situation and a senior official of Cholistan Rangers told this correspondent that order was soon restored.
The DCO said that since the bomb disposal squad could not reach everywhere it was the duty of police and its special branch to ensure security. He said the Rangers had to be called in because the local administration could not keep such a large number of people under control.
According to our Bahawalpur correspondent, five children and their mother were among the dead.
A bomb, wrapped in a plastic shopping bag, was recovered from the Khanpur area of Rahim Yar Khan district on Monday, reported Express News.
The bomb was found near the same place where another remote-controlled bomb went off yesterday during a Chehlum procession, resulting in the death of 18 people.
The bomb disposal squad has successfully disposed off the bomb.
A shutter-strike is being observed in the Khanpur district to mourn the loss of lives. Collective funeral prayers of the deceased will be held at 2:30pm this afternoon at the place of the incident.
Lawyers from Rahim Yar Khan and Khanpur also boycotted all court activities to protest against the blast.
Our correspondent reported that 14 people, who were killed in the blast, belonged to the same family. The families of the deceased have set up a camp outside the Khanpur police station and are staging a sit-in.
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