Islamabad: At least two persons were killed and 59 persons were injured in an explosion targeting an Ashura procession in Bahawalnagar city in Pakistan.

It was another incident of sectarian violence in Pakistan against the Shia community, which constitutes 20 per cent of Pakistan's 220 million people.

According to Pakistan authorities, a man hurled a grenade at an Ashura procession at Jamia Masjid in Muhajir Colony in Bahawalnagar at around 10 am on Thursday. The attacker had been taken into custody, Dawn reported.

The two people killed in the explosion, two of the injured were in critical condition and undergoing treatment at Bahawalpur Victoria Hospital, where all wounded had been shifted, an official said.

Rangers have been deployed in the area, while further investigation is underway, he added.

Ashura commemorates the killing of the Prophet Mohammed's grandson Hussein in the Battle of Karbala in 680 AD - a defining moment in the birth of Shia Islam.

In the last few decades, sectarian violence has gripped Pakistan with Shia and Ahmadi's believers being attacked and their shrines targeted.

Anti-Shia armed groups have bombed shrines and targeted Ashura processions in attacks that have killed thousands.

Pakistan is reeling under a new surge of sectarian violence targeting Shia and other religious minorities across the country, threatening new rounds of instability in the Muslim majority nation.

The minorities have been subjected to various forms of oppression in the country with the tacit support of the state. Incident of abduction and forced marriages of girls from minority communities are often reported.