Unidentified gunmen on Monday opened fire on a vehicle, killing at least five members of a minority Shia Hazara family, in Pakistan’s Balochistan province, the latest bout of sectarian violence in the restive region. The militants attacked the vehicle on Kasi road in Quetta, capital of the Balochistan province. It was targeted killing incident against the Hazaras who are frequently attacked in the area by Taliban-linked militants, police said. “Five persons were killed and one was injured,” they said.
The attackers were on motorbikes and fled after the incident, police said, adding that further investigations are underway. No group has claimed responsibility for the attack. Balochistan has witnessed violence against Hazaras for more than a decade and half by militants who consider them as heretics. Chief Minister Balochistan Sanaullah Zehri condemned the incident and ordered an inquiry into the incident.
The Hazaras are party of Shia community who live in Balochistan and Afghanistan. They have been often targeted by the Sunni militants. This is not the first time that the Hazaras has been targeted by extremist outfits in Balochistan. In the last few years hundreds of Hazaras have been killed in either suicide bomb attacks, planted bomb blasts or target killings.
Official reports say that there have been around 1200 incidents of violence against the Hazara community in the last 15 years. In September, Four members of a minority Shia Hazara family were killed by unidentified gunmen, including a 12-year-old boy, in Pakistan’s Balochistan.
In July, gunmen killed 4 members of a Shia family in the Mastung area. In October last year, gunmen opened fire on a bus carrying Hazara men and women in Quetta. Four women were killed in that attack.