QUETTA, (AFP)— Unknown gunmen opened fire on members of the Shiite community visiting a cemetery in the southwestern Pakistani city of Quetta, killing five people, police said.
The attack took place at a graveyard for the Hazara ethnic group where mourners were praying for dead relatives.
“At least five people were killed and seven others were wounded when unknown gunmen in cars fired rockets and bullets at people visiting a graveyard,” Quetta police chief Daud Junejo told AFP on Friday.
Witnesses told police that about a dozen gunmen arrived in two cars in Hazara Town, a Shiite-dominated neighbourhood of Quetta, before lobbing rocket propelled grenades (RPGs) and then opening fire with small arms, Junejo said.
The attackers fled after firing, he added.
Another senior Quetta police official Hamid Shakil confirmed the attack.
Police investigators said that it appeared to be a sectarian attack.
Southern Baluchistan province, of which Quetta is the capital, is rife with Islamist militancy, sectarian violence between majority Sunnis and minority Shiite Muslims and a regional insurgency waged by separatists.
Shiite Muslims are a minority in Pakistan, accounting for around a fifth of the country’s 160 million population, which is dominated by Sunnis.
More than 4,000 people have died in outbreaks of sectarian violence between the groups since the late 1980s.