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Monday, July 15, 2013

Four Shia Hazaras gunned down in Quetta: police

DAWN.COM and SYED ALI SHAH

Photo shows the vehicle of the four victims of the gun attack in Quetta on July 15, 2013.—Photo by Online

QUETTA: Gunmen opened fire at a vehicle in Quetta on Monday, killing four men belonging to the ethnic Shia Hazara community, police said.

Fayyaz Sumbal, the Deputy Inspector General Police, said four militants sprayed bullets on the victims who were travelling in the vehicle on Masjid road area of Quetta, the capital of militancy-hit Balochistan province.

All four men sitting in the vehicle were seriously wounded and succumbed to their injuries on their way to the Combined Military Hospital, he said.

Capital City Police Officer Mir Zubair Mehmood confirmed that all four victims belonged to the Hazara Shia community. Mehmood said security had been tightened following the attack and that the number of personnel guarding all exit and entry points of Quetta city had been doubled.

Quetta has witnessed a recent surge in incidents of sectarian violence, with militants repeatedly targeting the Hazara Shia community in several bombings and gun-attacks.

The Hazara Democratic Party and other Shia organisations have called for three days of mourning and a shutter-down strike on Tuesday in protest of the attack.

Monday’s incident comes exactly two weeks after a deadly suicide bombing at a Quetta Imambargah killed 30 members of the minority community. The Lashkar-i-Jhangvi had claimed responsibility for the blast, one of a series of attacks this year by the sectarian outfit targeting the Hazaras.

Meanwhile in a statement issued Monday evening, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif strongly condemned the firing incident and expressed his condolences to the bereaved families. Governor Mohammad Khan Achakzai also condemned the attack.

‘Peace only solution to Balochistan’s problems’

Earlier on Monday, the provincial chief of the ruling Pakistan Muslim League – Nawaz (PML-N), Nawab Sanaullah Zehri, termed the restoration of peace vital for prosperity of the militancy-hit province.

“Peace is the only panacea to all ills of Balochistan,” the senior provincial minister told a press conference at his residence.

Nawab Zehri said Balochistan’s problem was neither the construction of motorways nor development projects rather the worsening law and order problem was the first and foremost issue.

“Construction of motorways does not answer the problem of peace in the province,” he said.

The senior minister expressed serious concerns over the worsening law and order situation and vowed to work with allied parties for restoration of peace in Balochistan.

He said once the cabinet is formed then the allied political parties leaders would put their heads together to find an amicable solution to issues relating to the sparsely populated province of the country.

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