Pakistan’s army has killed more than 100 “terrorists” in less than 24 hours following a suicide blast at a Sufi shrine, the deadliest attack in the country in more than two years.
The killings, announced by the military’s media office, come amid calls for more security in the country following a string of recent attacks.
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In a statement released on Friday, the military said: “Over 100 terrorists have been killed since last night and sizeable apprehensions also made.”
A day earlier, at least 88 people were killed and hundreds were injured when a suicide attacker targeted Sufis as they performed a devotional ritual at the famous Lal Shahbaz Qalandar shrine in Sehwan, a town in the southern Sindh province.
“Army is for security,” the military statement said. “We shall not let the hostile agenda succeed whatever it may cost.”
The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, also known as ISIS) claimed responsibility for Thursday’s attack in Sehwan.
Earlier, Nawaz Sharif, Pakistan’s prime minister, said in a statement: “It is time for us to unite and fight the radicals, wherever they may be … I direct and authorise my armed forces and law enforcement agencies to eliminate the enemy.”
Pakistan has repeatedly blamed Afghanistan for giving safe haven to fighters on its side of the border.
“It doesn’t help anybody to fixate on the problem of Afghanistan as being the only problem that we face,” Mosharraf Zaidi, a former adviser to Pakistan’s foreign ministry, told Al Jazeera.
“While there are groups that use Afghan safe havens, the core of problem Pakistan faces today is inside Pakistan.”
Zaidi said the “network of terrorists exists in this country” and the “solution is also inside Pakistan”.
Thursday’s attack came after one of the bloodiest weeks in recent memory in Pakistan, with more than 100 people killed in a series of attacks since Monday, the majority of which were claimed by the Pakistani Taliban or one of its factions.
On Monday, 13 people were killed in a suicide bombing at a rally in the eastern city of Lahore.
Two police officers were killed on Tuesday while trying to defuse a bomb in the Balochistan provincial capital, Quetta.