Violence in Quetta, Pakistan, claims seven lives

July 16, 2013 at 12:20 AM
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QUETTA, Pakistan, July 16 (UPI) -- Seven people, four of them Shiites, died in shootings in Quetta in Pakistan's Balochistan province, where sectarian violence has escalated, police said.

Both the shooting incidents occurred Monday in the city, Dawn newspaper reported.

In the first, gunmen riding a motorcycle fired at a vehicle in the Masjid road area, killing four people, all of them members of the ethnic Shia Hazara community, police said.

In the second shooting which occurred Monday night, three people were gunned down and another person was injured in the city's Khudaidad Chowk area, the report said. Other details were not available.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attacks.

Dawn said dozens of angry protesters blocked a road outside the Civil Hospital to protest the killings. The Hazara Democratic Party and other Shiite organizations called for three days of mourning.

Shiite Muslims are a minority in predominantly Sunni Muslim Pakistan. Balochistan, home to a large population of Shiites, and its capital Quetta, have long been the scene of similar violence against the minority group.

Two weeks ago, a suicide bomber at a Quetta mosque killed at least 30 Shiites. Dawn reported the Sunni militant group Lashkar-i-Jhangvi claimed responsibility for the blast.

Nawab Sanaullah Zehri, provincial head of the country's ruling Pakistan Muslim League party, said the worsening law and order situation is the biggest problem facing Balochistan and called on all parties to help restore peace in the province, Dawn reported.

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