9 killed in sectarian attack in Pakistan Quetta

Karachi: At least nine people were shot dead, including eight members of the minority Shia Hazara community and a policeman, in three separate incidents of sectarian violence in Pakistan`s troubled southwestern city of Quetta on Saturday.

The first incident occurred on Brewery Road, where gunmen riding a motorcycle ambushed a taxi carrying members of the Hazara community. Seven persons were killed instantly. The attackers managed to escape, police and witnesses said.

"The victims were on their way to Killi Ibraimzai from Hazara Town when they were attacked. It is a case of sectarian targeted killing," Deputy Inspector General of Police (DIG) Qazi Wahid said.

In the second incident, gunmen fired at a group of people on Sabzal Road. A Hazara man was killed and another injured, police said. In yet another incident, a police constable was gunned down in Shalkot area on the outskirts of Quetta, the capital of Balochistan province.

Quetta has been rocked by several incidents of sectarian violence this week. Members of the Hazara community were the target in most of these incidents and over a dozen Shias have been killed.

Today`s killings resulted in tension across Quetta and shops and commercial hubs were closed after the violence. At some places, members of the Hazara community organised protests against the killings. Several cars were torched outside the hospital where the bodies were taken.

Protestors burnt tyres to block roads and fired in the air at some places. The Hazara Democratic Party called for a strike in Quetta.

Government officials said Frontier Constabulary personal had also been deployed in Quetta to maintain peace and control the situation. More than 100 suspects were arrested in raids carried out across the city.