Four members of the ethnic Hazara community were killed in an attack apparently motivated by sectarian hatred in Quetta on Tuesday. Elsewhere in the volatile Balochistan province, four people were killed in violence.
Gunmen riding a motorcycle opened fire on a tyre shop located in the Sirki Road neighbourhood of Quetta, according to police. Four people were killed as a result.
Police shifted the fatalities to Civil Hospital, where they were identified as Ali Atta, Muhammad Ibrahim, Syed Awaz and Ghulam Ali – all from the ethnic Hazara community, who are Shias by sect.
“It could be a sectarian attack,” Hamid Shakeel, the deputy inspector general of police (Operations), told the media. Incensed by the quadruple murders, the Hazara community blocked the roads and observed a shutter-down strike in different neighbourhoods of the city, including Liaqaat Bazaar, Abdul Sattar Road, Masjid Road and Qandhari Bazaar.
Masked men fired gunshots into the air to whip up fear among residents. Law enforcers, however, were nowhere to be seen.
Polio worker killed
Separately, an anti-polio campaign volunteer was shot dead by gunmen in Quetta’s suburban Rind Garh area. He was identified as Imran Ali. The assailants managed to escape.
The killing took place on the same day a three-day vaccination campaign kicked off in the province, and has caused widespread panic amongst vaccinators.
Meanwhile, police recovered a bullet-riddled body dumped in the Sardar Karez area of Quetta. The deceased was identified by his son as Muhammad Anwar.
In yet another incident, two labourers were killed in a firing incident in Turbat district.
According to Hawaldar Muhammad Karim of the Buleda Levies, gunmen opened fire on the two men in Buleda, killing them on the spot. The victims belonged to Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa.
Meanwhile, armed men opened fire on a tanker on National Highway, in the jurisdiction of Saddar Police Station, Dera Murad Jamali. As a result, a person identified as Muhammad Umair lost his life while the driver, identified as Khadim Hussain, sustained injuries and was driven to a Larkana hospital for medical aid.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 17th, 2012.