Four persons, including three minority Shia Muslims, were killed and nine others injured in three separate firing incidents of sectarian violence that broke out in Pakistan’s restive Baluchistan province.
The firing incidents took place yesterday after the outlawed Baloch Liberation Army (BLA) claimed responsibility for the failed bomb attack on Pakistan President Mamnoon Hussain’s son on Sunday night in the Hub industrial area in which three persons were killed and over a dozen injured.
Police officials said the trouble in Quetta city erupted when a Hazara shopkeeper was shot dead and two others injured by unidentified men on a motorcycle on the Fatima Jinnah road market.
“Soon after his killing, members of the Hazara Shia Muslim community came on the roads and started protesting, set tyres on fire, stoned shops and forced them to shut down,” City Police chief Abdul Razzaq Cheema said.
Minutes later, some armed men opened fire on two buildings on Jinnah road just a kilometre away and killed three persons, including two Hazara men, and injured several others.
SSP Aitzaz Guraya said after the news of the firing on the two buildings spread, members of the Hazara community and Shia Muslims protested the killings in other parts of the city, triggering panic.
He said heavy contingents of police and Frontier Corps then controlled the situation in the city.
“It appears today’s killings and violence were sectarian in nature and aimed at creating trouble in the city,” he said.
Rescue officials said at some places Shia and Sunni Muslims had clashed with each other but later dispersed.
Baluchistan Chief Minister Abdul Malik Baluch condemned the killings and violence.
“Elements are attempting to disturb the peace of the provincial capital but the government won’t allow anyone to violate the law.
“Our united government is very keen to establish peace in the province and we are on board with law enforcement agencies against the sectarian violence,” he said in a statement.