The seven men were killed as they waited for a coach in the Saryab district of Quetta, capital of the oil- and gas-rich province that borders Iran and Afghanistan. - File Photo

QUETTA: Unidentified gunmen opened fire on a bus stand in southwestern Pakistan on Friday, killing seven Shia pilgrims waiting to travel to neighbouring Iran, police said.

The attack was the latest violence in the province of Balochistan, which is beset by deadly sectarian conflict, a separatist insurgency and Taliban militant activity.

The seven men were killed as they waited for a coach in the Saryab district of Quetta, capital of the oil- and gas-rich province that borders Iran and Afghanistan.

“The attackers came on motorcycle and opened fire on the pilgrims. All seven Shiite pilgrims were killed on the spot,” Farid Breach, a senior police officer, told AFP.

“It was a sectarian attack. The Shia muslims were the target.” There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the incident, which was confirmed by local intelligence officials.

Most Pakistanis are Sunni Muslims, but the country has a significant Shia minority.

Thousands of people have died in sectarian attacks in Pakistan since the late 1980s.

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