Pakistan shrine custodian kills 20 in stabbing attack

The custodian of a Pakistani religious shrine and two accomplices have been arrested for torturing and murdering 20 worshippers with knives and clubs early on Sunday, police have said.

Waheed was arrested along with five of his associates who mercilessly killed the people after drugging them and stripping them, a police official said.

In February 88 people were killed and hundreds wounded in Pakistan's southern province of Sindh when a suicide bomber blew himself up among devotees at a ufi shrine.

The victims were killed while naked, with the bodies bearing multiple stab wounds and blunt weapons marks, a doctor at Sargodha hospital told Geo TV.

Zulfiqar Hameed, Regional Police Officer for Sargodha, said that during his interrogation, Waheed had told police he believed his victims were out to kill him.

The authorities suspect that Waheed and his accomplices mercilessly killed the intoxicated victims after stripping them.

One of the slain persons had donated a two-acre land to the custodian.

At least 19 bodies were recovered from the area surrounding the shrine.

It has been revealed that the primary suspect Abdul Waheed belongs to Nankana Sahib and was a one-time employee of Election Commission.

While talking to Dispatch News Desk (DND) news agency, Abdul Sattar who lives close to Shrine said that Faith Healer Abdul Waheed used to beat his disciples after stripping them naked.

Quoting one of the survivors, he said the custodian had allegedly contacted devotees over the telephone and called them to his room one by one.

The motivation is unclear, but police are investigating if the custodian was mentally unstable.

There have been cases of people dying during exorcism ceremonies at some shrines across the country, but mass killings are rare. Some hardliner factions, including the Taliban and the self-styled "Islamic Sate" militia, have organized attacks on the sanctuaries because they believe them to be heretical.

  • Jon Douglas