Karachi - Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah Monday admitted lack of security at the Sehwan Sharif shrine and revealed that some on-duty police personnel were taken away by a VVIP, who was not a politician, when the blast took place at the shrine.

Giving policy statement over the Sehwan tragedy in the Sindh Assembly, the chief minister admitted that deployment at the shrine was not enough and the local administration should have been better prepared for the incident after the attack on the Shah Noorani shrine.

He revealed that some of the cops guarding the shrine were taken away by a VVIP when the blast occurred. “I am not trying to blame anyone nor will I spell out his name, but I just want to inform that he is not a politician,” he said.

Giving the break-up of victims of the blast, he added that 81 people were killed while 383 people were injured in the incident. “The dead included 46 males, 10 females and 25 children below 15 years of age,” he elaborated.

“Out of 81 dead, 78 have been identified while only 10 of the injured are still being treated at the hospitals,” he said.

The chief minister informed that electricity of the shrine was cut off despite payment of dues.

“A special electricity transmission line was provided to the shrine in Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf’s tenure, but it was later severed, citing electricity theft,” he said, and added that if the department concerned wanted to stop the theft then it should have eliminated the illegal connections rather than cutting off the transmission line.

He said that at the time of the blast, there was darkness in the shrine due to loadshedding. He defended the provincial government by saying that it carried out proper rescue operations within its available resources. “It was impossible to arrange 500 ambulances for shifting the victims,” he argued.

“The MS (medical superintendent) of Sehwan Hospital did a very good job and the security forces also extended their complete support in coping up with the situation for which I am thankful to all of them,” the CM said.

He informed that the provincial government had devised a policy for the security of shrines keeping in view the reports that the terrorists wanted to hit those targets frequented by people the most. “Karachi is also on the target of terrorists and today the law-enforcement agencies have recovered a huge cache of explosives in an encounter in which a terrorist was also killed while others were arrested,” he revealed.

Murad said that CCTV footage of the incident had been obtained and the bomber would be identified from it. “We have sent DNA samples of the bomber to a lab to identify him,” he said.

The CM told the assembly that some areas of the province had been identified where the terrorists had presence. “The areas include those bordering with other provinces, especially Kashmore, Jacobabad and Ghotki,” he explained. “We are monitoring these areas with the cooperation of the Balochistan government,” he said.

Murad said that he would not let this fight against terrorism go in vain and would fight against it till its logical end. “We have also identified certain religious parties that are in touch with terror elements and have asked the federal government to include them in the watch list,” he added.

He called upon the politicians to unite on war against terror as it was a national cause. He said that although the provincial government was responsible for any incident in the province, but Sehwan was not only his constituency but also his hometown and he accepted its responsibility.