A SECURITY clampdown is underway in Pakistan with sweeping raids resulting in the death of 39 suspected militants following a suicide attack in the southern Sindh province on Thursday.
Pakistan stepped up its security measure following the most deadly attack in recent years, in which a suicide bomber walked into the Lal Shahbaz Qalandar Sufi shrine in Sehwan and detonated his explosives among a crowd of worshippers, killing 75. Scores were also wounded in the explosion.
Thursdays are an especially important day for local Sufis, meaning that the shrine was packed at the time of the blast.
The Islamic State has claimed responsibility for the attack.
According to the Associated Press, Pakistan took extreme measures on Friday, conducting countrywide raids that saw the arrest of 47 suspects, including some from Sindh province where the attack took place.
Pakistan closed two of its borders with Afghanistan. According to Al Jazeera, the second major border crossing at Chaman, which leads to Kandahar in Afghanistan from the Pakistani city of Quetta, was closed on Friday after the Torkham border was sealed off late on Thursday.
Pakistan has closed border w Afghanistan after Sehwan attack. Was at Torkham y’day, where there are a slew of new border control measures. pic.twitter.com/WrKMuCGofp
— Asad Hashim (@AsadHashim) February 17, 2017
The military has also demanded the extradition of 76 suspected “terrorists” thought to be hiding in the neighbouring country.
A statement from the military says the list was given to Afghan officials at the Pakistani army’s headquarters in Rawalpindi on Friday.
The military did not specify who was on the list, but it has long claimed that the head of Pakistani Taliban, Mullah Fazlullah, and other militants are hiding on Afghan soil with the purpose to foment violence inside Pakistan.
Afg Embassy officials called in GHQ. Given list of 76 Ts hiding in Afg. Asked to take immediate action / be handed over to Pakistan.
— Maj Gen Asif Ghafoor (@OfficialDGISPR) February 17, 2017
Thursday’s blast is the latest in a series of attacks across Pakistan since Monday, when 13 people were killed in a suicide bombing at a rally in the eastern city of Lahore.
Wednesday saw a suicide bombing at a government office in the Mohmand tribal area and a suicide attack on government employees in Peshawar, killing six people.
Two police officers were killed on Tuesday while trying to defuse a bomb in the Balochistan provincial capital of Quetta.
The violent string of attacks has stunned the nation and raised questions about the authorities’ ability to rein in militant groups.
Additional reporting by Associated Press