PESHAWAR: Gunmen killed a Shia Muslim scholar in the restive northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar on Monday, police and hospital officials said.
Allama Alim Al-Musvi was shot while walking to the mosque in the historic Kissa Khwani market of Peshawar, the capital of the Khyber Pakhtukhwa province that borders Afghanistan, police said.
“Two gunmen opened fire on the scholar and escaped in the narrow streets when he came out of his house and walked towards the mosque,” local police official Fazal Jan told AFP.
Al-Musvi was a locally respected scholar and used to deliver sermons at special Shia gatherings, he added.
A government hospital spokesman, Jamil Khan, confirmed the death.
There has been a rise in sectarian violence in Pakistan after several deadly clashes between Sunni and Shia Muslim groups near the capital Islamabad in November.
On November 19 gunmen killed a senior Shia university director along with his driver in Lahore, while another Shia leader and his guard were killed in Karachi in early December.
Three days later, Shamsur Rehman Muawiya, chief of the Ahl-e-Sunnat Wal Jammat (ASWJ) for Punjab province, was killed in Lahore.
On January 3, gunmen killed two senior members of a Sunni Muslim group in a rare attack in the Pakistani capital.
Pakistan is rife with sectarian clashes, with Sunni militant groups linked to al Qaeda and the Taliban often attacking gatherings by Shias, who constitute some 20 per cent of the country's predominantly Muslim population.