Heat wave kills dozens at Sehwan shrine

June 20, 2014 - 1:19:31 am

KARACHI: Dozens of people have died at a religious festival at a shrine in southern Pakistan during a severe heat wave, officials said yesterday.

Hundreds of thousands of devotees attended the death anniversary of Lal Shahbaz Qalandar, a 13th century Muslim Sufi saint, at a shrine in Sehwan, 250 kilometres north of Karachi.

People were arriving for the past five days despite temperatures hovering around 47 degrees Celsius.

District health officer doctor Khalid Arain said that 51 people had died since Sunday, including four women.

“Out of the total deaths 45 died of heat wave and suffocation, three died of heart attack, one drowned and two died in road accidents,” Arain said.

Nearly 650 cases of sunstroke were brought to the local hospital in the same period, he said.

The Edhi Welfare Trust, a charity that runs one of Pakistan’s largest fleets of ambulances, put the death toll at 35.

Pakistani female singer shot dead

PESHAWAR: Unknown gunmen shot dead a popular female singer in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar in the latest attack against women artists, officials said yesterday.

Gulnar, 38, famous under her performing name Muskan, was shot by four gunmen who barged into her house on Wednesday. She died in hospital. “The singer Gulnar has been shot dead,” local police station chief Riazul Haq said.

“She had married three times and had some personal enmities.”

Attacks against female singers are common in Pakistan’s conservative northwestern province of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, where many consider the performing arts unIslamic.

A young actress suffered burn injuries in June last year when she had acid hurled at her while she was sleeping.

The 18-year-old, known as Bushra and popular in the northwest for her film, television and theatre appearances, was attacked at her home in the town of Nowshera, 150 kilometres northwest of Islamabad.