QUETTA, July 30 (AFP) - At least ten Shiite Muslims and one other man were killed when gunmen opened fire in an apparent sectarian attack in southwestern Pakistan today, police said.
The shooting took place on the outskirts of Quetta, the capital of oil and gas-rich Baluchistan province, which borders Afghanistan and Iran.
“Gunmen opened fire on a passenger van carrying Shiite Muslims. Ten Shiites and a passer-by were killed and four injured in the attack,” senior police officer Jamil Ahmad Kakar told AFP by telephone.
Kakar said the gunmen were standing by the roadside and sprayed bullets at the van when it reached Spiny Road, on the outskirts of Quetta.
They succeeded in fleeing the scene after the shootings. “One woman was among the dead while another was injured in the attack,” he added.
Local intelligence and administrative officials confirmed the incident and casualties.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility, but Baluchistan is rife with Islamist militancy, sectarian violence between majority Sunni and minority Shiite Muslims, and a regional insurgency waged by separatists.
Shiite Muslims account for about a fifth of Pakistan's 167-million-strong population, which is dominated by Sunni Muslims.
A day earlier, gunmen killed seven Shiite pilgrims on the outskirts of Quetta when they opened fire at a bus stop. Police said the victims had been waiting for a coach to travel to neighbouring Iran.