Gunmen kill 11 Pakistan Shiites in suspected sectarian attack.
By Sara Ghasemilee
Saturday, 30 July 2011
Gunmen opened fire on a vehicle in Pakistan’s southwestern Baluchistan province on Saturday, killing 11 Shiite Muslims and wounding three in a suspected sectarian attack, police said.
The shooting took place on the outskirts of Quetta, the capital of oil and gas-rich Baluchistan province, which borders Afghanistan and Iran.
“The vehicle was passing by a bus stand when gunmen riding in another car opened fire, killing at least 11 people and wounding three,” the city’s police chief Hamid Shakeel told Reuters.
Another police official said it appeared to be a sectarian attack as all those killed were Shiites.
The gunmen succeeded in fleeing the scene after the shootings.
Local intelligence and administrative officials confirmed the incident and casualties but there was no immediate claim of responsibility.
The majority of Pakistanis are Sunni Muslims, with Shiites accounting for around 15 percent of a population of more than 170 million.
Both communities largely live in peace with each other but militants from the two sides have killed thousands of people in tit-for-tat attacks since the beginning of Islamist militancy in the country in the 1980s.
Saturday’s attack came a day after eight people were killed and about 25 wounded in two separate bomb and gun attacks in two districts of Baluchistan.
Baluch nationalists have waged a low-scale insurgency for decades but Taliban militants with links to Al Qaeda have also been active in Baluchistan, the largest but poorest of Pakistan’s four provinces, and home to the country’s largest gas and oil reserves.
Pakistan has seen a surge in violence since Al Qaeda chief Osama Bin Laden was killed by US special forces in a secret raid in Pakistan in May.
Militants have vowed revenge for Bin Laden’s death.
(Sara Ghasemilee, Day Editor of Al Arabiya English, can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org)