Police say assault was sectarian in nature and targeted Hazara minority
Gunmen on Monday killed five people, including three Shia Muslims, in Balochistan province in the latest sectarian attack on the religious minority, police said.
Two men on a motorbike attacked a vehicle carrying four Shia vegetable sellers as it left the provincial capital Quetta. “The local police escort the Shia vegetable sellers daily… one of the vehicles today fell victim to sniper fire after it got separated from the rest of the escort,” said senior local police official Abdul Razzaq Cheema.
He said the gunmen killed three Shias from the Hazara ethnic minority as well as the van driver and a passerby.
One Shia vegetable seller suffered several bullet wounds but survived.
Another senior local police official, Naseeb Ullah, confirmed the incident and casualties. Both officials described the incident as a sectarian attack on Shia Hazaras.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility but Taliban militants have targeted Shia Hazaras in the past. Shias make up roughly 20 percent of Pakistan’s 200 million people.
Attacks by Sunni hardliners against them, along with other sectarian violence, have claimed thousands of lives in the country over the past decade.