A powerful car bomb ripped through a prayer gathering of Sunni Muslim radicals in central Pakistan, killing 41 people and wounding more than 100 as the country grappled with a new upsurge of sectarian violence.
The blast at 4:30 am (2330 GMT Wednesday) targeted around 2,000 &to=http:// english.pravda.ru/printed.html?news_id=12468 ' target=_blank>Sunnis from an outlawed group who had gathered in the city of Multan, a hotbed of Islamic extremism, to mark the first &to=http:// english.pravda.ru/culture/2002/04/30/28137.html ' target=_blank>anniversary of the assassination of their leader.
The pre-dawn attack came six days after 30 worshippers from the rival Shiite minority were killed by a suicide bomber as they prayed in the eastern city of Sialkot. Police had feared a revenge attack, says Channel News Asia.
According to the Xinhua News, police chief in Multan, Talat Mehmood Tariq said some 1700 to 1800 Sunni &to=http:// english.pravda.ru/mailbox/22/98/395/14172_Muslims.html ' target=_blank>Muslims gathered on Wednesday night in Multan's Rashidabad neighborhood to mark the first anniversary of the killing of their leader Maulana Azam Tariq.
Azam Tariq was head of the outlawed Sunni extremist group Millat-e-Islamia, formally known as Sipah-e-Sahaba, and also a member of the National Assembly (lower house of parliament). He was killed with his driver and two body guards by unidentified gunmen in the outskirts of Islamabad last year.