Data Darbar: Explosion hits near major Sufi shrine in Lahore

The attack is thought to have targeted police
The attack is thought to have targeted police

At least eight people have been killed in an explosion outside a major Sufi Muslim shrine in the Pakistani city of Lahore, officials said.

Many are feared injured, including several policemen. Authorities said the blast appeared to have targeted a police vehicle.

The explosion occurred near the Data Darbar Sufi shrine, one of the oldest Muslim shrines in South Asia.

So far, no group has said it carried out the attack.

The bloodshed comes as Muslim-majority Pakistan marks the Islamic holy month of Ramadan.

A security operation is still under way in the area, with heavy police presence at the blast site.

According to Radio Pakistan, Prime Minister Imran Khan strongly denounced Wednesday’s blast and urged authorities to provide the best possible medical care for those injured.

The Data Darbar Sufi shrine is located inside the ancient Walled City in Lahore, Pakistan’s second-biggest city, and is visited by hundreds of thousands of people each year.

Sufism is a form of Islamic mysticism that exists across the Islamic world, and includes both Sunnis and Shias.

Its followers in Pakistan have been attacked by militants in the past.

BBC map showing Pakistan

Since a Taliban attack on a Peshawar school killed 141 in 2014, Pakistan has attempted to crack down on extremism.

While security has improved, the country still grapples with militant groups.

In 2016, at least 72 people were killed in Lahore in a bombing targeting Christians on Easter Sunday.