20 people murdered in Pakistan shrine

At least 20 people, including sixmembers of a family, were tortured and killed at a shrine allegedly by its "mentally ill" custodian and his associates in Sargodha in Pakistan's Punjab province.

Twenty people were murdered and four others wounded at a Pakistani Sufi shrine early on Sunday by men wielding batons and knives, police said.

Visiting the shrines and offering alms to the poor - and cash to the custodians - is still very popular in Pakistan, where many believe this will help get their prayers answered.

SP Sargodha Bilal Iftikhar, speaking exclusively with Samaa, said that three suspects have been arrested from the scene, adding that drugs have been confiscated from the room of trustee of Shrine.

At least 19 bodies were recovered from the area surrounding the shrine.

The police official quoted Waheed as saying that he killed his disciples because according to him they poisoned to death his spiritual leader, Ali Muhammad, two years ago.

"We have taken five people, including the caretakers of the dargah - Waheed and Yousuf, into custody for interrogation", Chatha said.

Our sources informed that Waheed is an employee of Election Commission Sargodha, while police have also found his office identity card.

Police official Mazhar Shah said that the motive behind the crime has not been ascertained yet.

Meanwhile, Chief Minister Punjab has constituted a probe committee headed by RPO to investigate the incident and report within 24 hours.

  • Carolyn Briggs