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Dozens Killed in Pakistan Religious Shrine Bombing

At least 32 Shi'ite Muslim worshippers are dead in a bombing at a religious shrine in remote southwest Pakistani.

The bomb exploded late Saturday night, as officials at a Shi'ite shrine in Fatehpur, in the town of Gandhawa, were distributing food to religious pilgrims.

Baluchistan tribesmen (file photo)
The holy site is in Pakistan's Baluchistan Province, which has seen repeated clashes between extremist Sunni and Shi'ite Muslims.

Information Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed said the incident is under investigation. "Our administration is considering whether it was a [planted] bomb or suicide attack, or some sectarian group."

In addition to sectarian violence, Baluchistan has also seen fighting in recent months between the military and local tribesmen wanting autonomy within the resource rich province.

Baluchi tribespeople have been demanding the government share revenue from the province's natural gas fields.

On Sunday, a warning about a possible attack by tribesmen reportedly sent hundreds of residents of the town of Dera Bugti fleeing.

Information Minister Ahmed downplayed the situation, saying everything is under control, and authorities are seeking to negotiate with local tribal leader Nawab Bugti. "We are trying our best to get in touch with Bugti, so let's see," he said. "Now the situation is better, and it will be better."

On Thursday, fighting between tribesmen and the government's paramilitary Frontier Corps left eight government soldiers and an estimated 40 tribesmen dead.