The blast hit the Mustafa Mosque, the largest mosque for Shias in the city, Sharfuddin Memon, advisor to the home minister of Sindh province of which Karachi is the capital, told Xinhua.
The explosion occurred around 9.10 p.m. when a bomb fixed on a motorbike parked near the mosque went off as people were leaving the building after Muharram prayers.
It was a home-made bomb denoted through a remote-controlled device, said Chaudhry Aslam, Superintendant of Police of the Criminal Investigation Department.
Five members of the Rangers paramilitary force, who were posted at the mosque for security, were among the injured, a Rangers spokesman said.
Hospital officials said many of the wounded were in critical condition and the toll may rise.
The blast, besides causing a blackout in the nearby areas, destroyed many vehicles.
Bomb disposal squad officials believe that an estimated three to four kg of explosives were used in the bomb.
No group claimed responsibility for the attack.
Aslam, however, said the attack could be a reaction to the recent arrest of several terrorist suspects involved in sectarian attacks.
The attack sparked off protests from local Shia Muslims. A Shia group, Tahafuz-e-Azadari Council Pakistan, has announced a three-day mourning for the victims.
President Asif Ali Zardari has condemned the attack.
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