In a suspected sectarian hit, at least seven people have been shot dead on the outskirts of Quetta.
Six others were injured in the incident that took place on Wednesday near Killi Kamalo in Quetta’s Saryab area. All victims belong to the Shia community and banned militant outfit Laskhar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ) claimed responsibility for the attack.
As many as 14 people from the Shia community have been killed in target killings in Balochistan this month.
According to official sources, the victims were heading to the market from the Sabzi Mandi when unidentified LeJ men fired at them indiscriminately, killing five people on the spot.
Tahira Bibi, 5, who was a resident of the area, had stepped out of her house at the time of attack. Wounded, she was taken to Bolan Medical College Teaching Hospital where she succumbed to her injuries. One more injured man also died at the hospital.
“It seems the culprits had already taken position and were waiting for their targets,” a senior official said, adding that assailants escaped on a motorbike.
The deceased were identified as Ali Ahmed Hazara, Ishaq Ali, Mohammad Hanif, Ghulam Nabi and Qurban Ali while those injured are Yar Mohammad, Haji Juma, Jan Ali and Mohammad Ali.
“All the victims had bullet wounds in their upper torso,” hospital sources said.
A case has been registered against unidentified persons and Quetta police chief Daud Junejo believed that the incident was sectarian in nature.
Acting DIG operation Fareed Barech said that around 16 suspects have been rounded up and are being questioned.
Announcing a three-day mourning, Balochistan Shia Conference chairperson Ashraf Zaidi said that frequent attacks affirm that law enforcers and the administration know the hideouts of terrorists and are deliberately not taking action.
The Hazara Democratic Party (HDP) staged a demonstration outside the Quetta Press Club.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 19th, 2011.