Karachi cleric killing sparks backlash in Pakistan

Pakistani paramilitary soldiers stand guard during an Ashura ceremony to mark the death of Hussein, the grandson of Prophet Mohammad in Karachi November 25, 2012
Image caption Karachi has been blighted by growing sectarian violence

Gunmen have shot dead a senior cleric of a prominent Islamic seminary in the Pakistani city of Karachi, in what police say could be sectarian attack.

Maulana Mohammad Ismail was killed while he was on his way to the Sunni Jamia Ahsanul Uloom seminary.

His death sparked angry protests as protesters took to the streets, setting vehicles on fire and pelting security forces with stones.

The killing comes amid growing sectarian violence in the port city.

In recent weeks, several Shias have been killed in drive-by shootings blamed on Sunni militant groups.

And on 10 November, at least seven students from Maulana Ismail's seminary were gunned down by unidentified gunmen at a tea stall nearby.

Police say it is not clear why this particular school has been targeted twice in recent weeks.

Security forces remain on high alert ahead of the funeral of Maulana Ismail, expected later on Monday.

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