The first explosion took place shortly after 8 p.m. and was followed by another soon after. The two blasts not only brought down large portions of apartment blocks in the vicinity but also set off a huge fire.

At least 48 people, including women and children, were killed and 140 injured when two powerful blasts ripped through a Shia-dominated area of the southern Pakistani port city of Karachi, the latest in a string of attacks targeting the minority sect.

The first explosion took place shortly after 8 p.m. and was followed by another soon after. The two blasts not only brought down large portions of apartment blocks in the vicinity but also set off a huge fire, making the task of rescue workers even more difficult.

As the death toll mounted, all hospitals in the commercial capital were put on high alert and appeals for blood donation made through television and social media. Till late in the night, police and rescue workers were sifting through the rubble in search for trapped people.

Apprehensive of the blasts leading to a law and order situation in the already violence-prone city, schools have been declared closed on Monday and annual examinations scheduled for the day rescheduled. The Sindh Government declared a day of mourning on Monday and several organizations announced protest action for the day.

The Shias of Karachi have been under attack for a while now with several doctors from the community leaving the country after their colleagues were killed in targeted attacks. Sectarian violence has been on the rise across the country; the last being the bomb attack on Hazara Shias in Quetta on February 16 when over a 100 members of the community were killed. This year alone, well over 200 Shias have been killed in sectarian attacks across the country.

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