20 Shia Muslims killed in sectarian attack
August 16th, 2012 by Faisal Farooq | One Comment |
According to the officials, the bus was traveling from the city of Rawalpindi to the city of Gilgit.
Sectarian violence has killed hundreds of Pakistanis in recent years and mostly occurred in the Northern Areas and in Balochistan province.
Officials informed the media that those killed in the latest attack were either shot or beheaded.
Chief Commissioner Mansehra Khalid Omarzai while talking to media said, “Ten to 12 people wearing army uniform stopped the bus and forced some people off the bus. After checking their papers, they opened fire and at least 20 people are reported to have been killed”.
He further said that this was initial information and the final toll may go up but they all were Shias.
Eyewitnesses told police that three armed men separated 22 passengers from others after checking their identity cards. They said they had seen over dozen bodies on the sport.
Sectarian violence linked to Gilgit, a popular tourist destination for wealthy Pakistanis and expatriates who live in the country, has increased in recent months.
It is the capital of Gilgit-Baltistan and is popular with mountaineers as a gateway to the Karakoram and Himalayan mountain ranges.
On February 28, gunmen in military fatigues hauled 18 Shiite Muslim men off buses travelling from Rawalpindi to Gilgit in the northern district of Kohistan, shooting them dead in cold blood.
On April 3, a Sunni Muslim mob dragged nine Shia Muslims from buses and also shot them dead in the town of Chilas, about 60 miles south of Gilgit.
Human rights groups have heavily criticised Pakistan for failing to crack down on sectarian violence between the country’s majority Sunni and minority Shiite communities that has killed thousands.