ISLAMABAD: Intelligence agencies on Friday put Rawalpindi on high alert, said the military’s media wing, hours after a suicide bomber blew himself within the premises of a shrine in Sehwan Sharif.
“In wake of recent upsurge in terrorist incidents in the country, search and combing operations in areas of Rawalpindi district have been enhanced and security apparatus has been put on high alert,” ISPR said in a statement.
“Security forces and intelligence outfits have been instructed to further intensify combing and targeted operations with the aim to eliminate terrorists and sleepers cells.”
Authorities launched a nationwide security crackdown Friday, officials said, after the blast killed at least 70 people, including 20 children, and wounded hundreds.
Police had cordoned off the shrine of Lal Shahbaz Qalandar, a 13th century Muslim saint, early Friday as forensic investigators reached the town of Sehwan in Sindh, some 200 kilometres (124 miles) northeast of financial hub Karachi.
The centuries-old shrine's white floor was still smeared with blood, with scattered debris including shoes, shawls, and baby bottles. At least 20 children are believed to be among the dead, the head of Sehwan's medical facility Moeen Uddin Siddiqui said.