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Seven gunned down in Quetta

September 01, 2012

Policemen and paramilitary soldiers stand on a street after gunmen shot at two buses in Quetta on August 27, 2012. — Photo by AFP/File

QUETTA: Gunmen shot dead seven Shias in two separate incidents in Balochistan’s provincial capital Quetta on Saturday, police said.

The incidents took place in the Hazarganji area of Quetta, the capital of the oil and gas rich province.

Senior local police official Wazir Khan Nasir told AFP that “four gunmen riding two motorbikes intercepted a bus” and “pulled five Shia vegetable sellers off the vehicle and shot them dead”.

He said in a second incident, two motorbike riders sprayed bullets at two Shias in Hazarganji area, on the outskirts of Quetta, killing both of them.

Another local police official Mukhtar Musakhel confirmed the incidents and casualties.

The dead bodies were shifted to the Bolan Medical College hospital.

All seven deceased belonged to Hazara community. Situation in the area became tense after the incident.

People of the Hazara community came out on roads and protested the killings. They blocked the Barwari road along with the Western bypass.

Hazara Democratic Party showed its outrage and said that these kinds of incidents were leading the province towards anarchy. The party demanded that those involved in the incident should be arrested.

Balochistan Shia Conference has announced three days of mourning in the provinces and demanded the arrest of the people involved in the brutal killings.

Nobody has so far claimed responsibility for the attacks.

Earlier on Thursday, unidentified gunmen shot dead a Shia judge along with his driver and police bodyguard in Quetta in a suspected sectarian attack.

The incident took place when the session judge Zulfiqar Naqvi was travelling to his office.

Balochistan has been a flashpoint for sectarian violence between majority Sunnis and Shias, who make up around 20 per cent of the population.

Sectarian conflict has left thousands of people dead since the late 1980s, and the province also suffers Taliban attacks and a separatist insurgency.