Death rains on Shias in Quetta
* Eight more Hazara community members gunned down in two incidents
* Thousands of angry people set vehicles, tyres on fire; block roads; open fire on police station
QUETTA: Police say gunmen riding motorcycles on Saturday killed eight Shias in a pair of sectarian attacks in the restive city.
Senior police officer Shaukat Ajmad told AP the assailants opened fire on a taxi, killing six people on Brewery Road in Killi Ibrahim Zai.
Minutes later, they shot and killed another two Shias in a rickshaw in the same area.
Security forces rushed to the scene and shifted the bodies to Bolan Medical College Hospital (BMCH). The deceased were identified as Abdullah, Juma Ali, Muhammad Ali, Syed Asghar Shah, Eid Muhammad. Another six bodies could not be identified so far. The deceased were said to be from the Hazara community.
Separately, unidentified gunmen riding a motorcycle opened fire on people on Sabzal Road. A man identified as Gul Muhammad died on the spot and another man, identified as Muhammad Hasan, was injured.
Separately, unidentified gunmen shot dead a police official in the Shalkot police station precincts.
Meanwhile, a 15-year-old boy, identified as Sabir, was seriously injured on Toghi Road after charged people fired in the air to protest against Shia killings. Sabir has been referred to the CMH, Quetta.
Hundreds of protesters gathered at Mezan Chowk, burnt tyres and blocked roads for traffic. More protesters gathered outside the BMCH and torched a government-owned vehicle and a motorcycle. Reportedly, the protesters also fired at Brewery Police station house officer, but he remained safe.
The FC and police personnel escorted students and teachers of Sardar Bahadur Khan Women University and schools located close to the affected areas. Commercial markets and shops were closed and traffic was thin.
The Home Department has called in 10 more FC platoons to maintain peace in the city. Strong contingents of FC, police and the Anti-Terrorist Force (ATF) have been deployed on sensitive places, including Mezan Chowk, Jinnah Road, Brewery Road, Sariab Road, Airport Road, Sabzal Road and Alamdar Road. Llaw enforcement agencies raided several areas and arrested as many as 100 suspected people. The bodies have been shifted to the Hazara Town’s imambargah.
The Tahafuz Azadari Council announced a seven-day mourning in the city. The Hazara Qaumi Jirga, the Shia Conference and all political and religious parties condemned the Shia killing. In the last 10 days, 25 people have been killed in the provincial capital.
Balochistan Home Secretary Nasibullah Bazai said that they could not provide complete security to citizens. He, however, said that a comprehensive security plan had been devised which would be implemented after approval from the relevant authorities.
The FC, ATF and police have been patrolling in the city. Police sources said that according to preliminary investigation, the incidents are apparently seen to be linked with sectarian killing. Further probe was underway. The continuous incidents of target killings have created fear, harassment and tension in the city. Shias are a minority in the country. Although most Sunni and Shias live peacefully together, extremists from both sides have targeted each other over the past three decades. In recent years, Sunni attacks on Shias have been far more common.
The FC, ATF and police are patrolling the city. During initial investigation, police sources said that the incidents were apparently linked with sectarian killing, adding that further probe was underway. The continuous incidents of target killings have created fear, harassment and tension in the city.
Dozens of Shias have lost their lives in sectarian violence in Quetta and other parts of Balochistan and Gilgit-Baltistan in a month. agencies