by Jamil Bhatti, Liu Tian
ISLAMABAD, Feb. 17 (Xinhua) -- At least 101 people were killed and over 300 others injured in seven bomb blasts during last four days across Pakistan as the country witnessed a sudden surge in terror attacks after a visible tendency of drop in such attacks since the launch of military operation in 2014.
Thursday evening's suicide bombing was the latest of this wave. A bomber hit a gathering of hundreds of people at a Sufi shrine of Lal Shahbaz Qalandar in Sehwan town of Jamshoro district in Pakistan's southern Sindh Province, killing 72 people and leaving over 200 others injured, police said.
Inspector General of Sindh police, A.D. Khwaja said that the worst incident of the year 2017 took place when a young suicide bomber exploded his explosive laden jacket amid the people performing Dhamal (mystic dance) inside the main compound of the shrine.
Faisal Edhi, head of rescue team, said that the killed included 43 men, 20 children and nine women, fearing that the death toll might further rise because several of injured were in critical condition.
Emergency were declared in all hospitals in Sehwan and in neighboring cities of Hyderabad and NawabShah, while critical injured were being airlifted by the Pakistan Air Force to hospitals in the southern port city of Karachi.
Militants group of Islamic State, through a website of its news agency AMAQ, has claimed the attack.
Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif condemned the attack and directed the authorities concerned to provide the best treatment to the injured.
Following the attack, Pakistan's army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa appealed the nation to stay calm and said "your security forces shall not allow hostile powers to succeed. We stand for our nation. Each drop of nation's blood shall be revenged, and revenged immediately. No more restraint for anyone."
He also said that the recent terrorist acts are being executed on directions from hostile powers and from sanctuaries in Afghanistan, adding "we shall defend and respond."
The Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR), the media wing of Pakistan army, said that the border between Pakistan and Afghanistan has been closed with immediate effects till further orders due to security reasons.
The new wave of terrorist attacks started on Monday across the country from northwest tribal area to southern Quetta, killing and injuring dozens.
On Tuesday, Sharif visited the residence of a slain police officer and said "we have fought this fight against the terrorists among us, and will continue to fight it until we liberate our people of this cancer, and avenge those who have laid down their lives for us."
Bajwa also chaired a high-level meeting at Corps Headquarter in Lahore on Tuesday and approved the launch of a combing operation against terrorists in Southern part of the Punjab province, an underdeveloped area considered to be a sleeping cell of terrorists.
The Pakistani Foreign Office summoned Afghan Deputy Head of Mission in Islamabad, Syed Abdul Nasir Yousafi, and presented a dossier outlining evidence of terrorist sanctuaries, financiers and handlers from Afghanistan who were involved in the attack, urging the Afghan government to take action against the culprits.
The recent attacks have affected Pakistan's sports calendar, especially its plans to hold final cricket tournament "Pakistan Super League" in Lahore next month, which is already in progress in the United Arab Emirates, because foreign player refused to play in Pakistan.
Security situation in Pakistan had been much improved as the number of terrorism related incidents dropped by 46.58 percent in 2016 as compared to the events took place in 2015, but the recent strikes raises many concerns.
Local watchers said that despite Pakistan army had achieved visible major successes through its operation Zarb-e-Azb launched against local and foreign terrorists in 2014, the current upsurge of attacks was a clear indicator that active terrorist networks are still present and the country needs a fresh plan of action to rout out the menace of terrorism.