Asia

Four minority Shia Hazaras are shot dead in Pakistan

  • 16 October 2012
  • From the section Asia
Shias mourn the killing of their relatives at a hospital following the attack by gunmen in Quetta
Image caption Members of Pakistan's Shia community have frequently been targeted by militants

Gunmen on motorbikes have shot dead four people from the minority Shia Hazara community in the Pakistani city of Quetta, police say.

No-one has claimed responsibility for the attack, which police say bears all the hallmarks of a sectarian attack.

All those killed were workers in the city's busy scrap market.

Hundreds of Shias have been killed in Pakistan since 2011. Most of the deaths have taken place in Balochistan, of which Quetta is the capital.

The million-strong ethnic Hazara community - mainly migrants from Afghanistan - have been the focus of many of the attacks over the last 20 years.

They settled mostly around Quetta because the city allowed them easy access to their communities back home and because it is located on a key Shia pilgrimage route to to Iran.

Officials blame Pakistan's most powerful extremist organisation, the pro al-Qaeda Sipah-e-Sahaba - or Soldiers of the Companions of the Prophet - for most of the violence against them.

Sunni extremists see Shias as heretics and have regularly accused them of being proxies of Iran in Pakistan.

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