Gunman kills three in Pakistan sectarian attack


Quetta: At least two Shiite Muslims and one other man were killed when a gunman opened fire in an apparent sectarian attack in southwest Pakistan on Sunday, police said.

The shooting took place on the outskirts of Quetta, the capital of oil and gas-rich Baluchistan province, which borders Afghanistan and Iran.

“A gunman opened fire on two Shiite Muslims and one of their companions, who were riding two motorbikes. All the three men died of their wounds on reaching hospital,” local police official Ameer Dashti told AFP.

The gunman — who had been standing beside the road — escaped after what appeared to have been a targeted sectarian killing, he said. A local intelligence official also confirmed the incident and casualties.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility, but Baluchistan is rife with Islamist militancy, sectarian violence between majority Sunni and minority Shiite Muslims, and a regional insurgency waged by separatists.

Shiite Muslims account for around a fifth of Pakistan’s 167-million-strong population, which is dominated by Sunni Muslims. Thousands of people have died in sectarian attacks since the late 1980s.

Elsewhere, two policemen were killed and seven others wounded in a remotely controlled bomb explosion on the outskirts of the north-western city of Peshawar, the gateway to the country’s tribal badlands, police said.

“A remote-controlled bomb planted on the roadside exploded as a police mobile van passed by, killing two policemen and wounding seven others on Sunday night,” local police official Shakir Bangash told AFP.

He said those injured in the blast included another four policemen.