Balochistan official says government is concerned over rise in attacks targeting minority community.
Unknown gunmen on Saturday killed two members of Pakistan’s Hazara Shia Muslims in Balochistan province, officials said.
The attack took place as two members of the Hazara community were traveling from the city center of Quetta to their home in the suburban Hazara town.
“Two unknown gunmen sprayed bullets on the van in which Izzatullah and Muhammad Hussain were traveling,” said Mukhtar Ahmed, chief of the local police station. “Izzatullah, who was driving the van was killed at the spot while Hussain died on the way to hospital. The gunmen fled from the scene after firing,” Ahmed added.
Another senior police official Abdul Waheed Khattak confirmed the incident and said it mirrored similar shootings earlier this week.
“Two Hazara brothers were fired at on Friday near the same locality of Hazara town and one of them was killed while another is seriously injured. Likewise another member of the community was killed on Wednesday when he arrived at his auto workshop,” Khattak said.
Provincial home secretary Akbar Durrani said authorities were concerned about the spate of attacks that appear to be targeting the Hazaras.
Members of the Hazara community have long been targeted by Sunni militants. In early 2013, more than 180 people were killed in two suicide bombings in Quetta in one of the bloodiest attacks on the Shia minority.
Sectarian violence—in particular that carried out by Sunni militants against Shias, who make up roughly 20 percent of Pakistan’s population of 200 million—has claimed thousands of lives in the country over the past decade. There was a lull in attacks earlier this year after the Pakistani military launched a major offensive against militants across the country, blocking their sources of movement, communication and funding.