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Dozens die in heatwave at Pakistan shrine

Dozens of people have died at a religious festival at a shrine in southern Pakistan during a severe heatwave, officials said on Thursday.

KARACHI: Dozens of people have died at a religious festival at a shrine in southern Pakistan during a severe heatwave, officials said on Thursday.

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 told AFP that 51 people had died since Sunday, including four women.

"Out of the total deaths 45 died of heatwave 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.

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