QUETTA: Hundreds of infuriated demonstrators poured out onto the streets in the troubled southwestern city of Quetta on Saturday, blocking traffic and setting fire to tyres in protest against the day’s incidents of sectarian violence in the city.
All commercial markets and business centers were closed and traffic was barely visible.
Several angry protestors gathered at Mizan roundabout, while hundreds of other demonstrators gathered outside the BMC hospital, torching a vehicle and a motorcycle parked there.
Gunmen had shot dead eight Shia Muslims in separate incidents of sectarian violence in the Quetta on Saturday.
Senior police officer Shaukat Ajmad said that assailants opened fire on a car Saturday, killing six people in Quetta, reported the Associated Press.
The incident happened on Brewery Road in the Killi Ibrahim Zai area of the city.
The victim’s bodies were shifted to Bolan Medical College hospital where they were identified as Abdullah, Juma Ali, Muhammad Ali, Syed Asghar Shah and Eid Muhammad, while identity of the sixth dead could not be ascertained. All of them were said to belong to the ethnic Hazara Shia community.
A senior local police official Malik Arshad confirmed the incidents and casualties and said: “The killings were part of sectarian violence in the city.”
In another incident of firing, unidentified assailants riding bikes opened fire on people standing on a roadside on Sabzal road, in which one person identified as Gul Muhammad was killed while another, identified as Muhammad Hasan, was injured.
The dead and the wounded were shifted to BMC hospital.
In a third incident, gunmen opened fire at a policeman, who succumbed to his wounds, within the jurisdiction of Shalkot police station.
Meanwhile, a 15-year-old boy, identified as Sabir, was seriously injured on Toghi road when enraged people who were staging demonstration against the target killing retorted to aerial firing.
The Frontier Corps (FC) paramilitary troops were called in to maintain peace in the city. Heavy contingents of FC, police and Anti-Terrorist Force (ATF) were deployed on sensitive points including Mizan Chowk, Jinnah Road, Brewery Road, Sariab Road, Airport Road, Sabzal Road, Alamdar Road and other areas.
The Hazara Democratic Party (HDP) has called for a wheel-jam strike within the city on Sunday. Meanwhile, the Tahaffaz Azadari Council has announced a seven-day mourning in the city.