8 killed in Pakistan violence
GUNMEN separately killed six Shiite Muslims and two local UN employees on Thursday in Baluchistan, a Pakistani province plagued by Taliban violence and a separatist insurgency, police said.
There were angry demonstrations after the killings of the Shiites, in what police described as the latest sectarian attack in the volatile southwest province.
The gunmen, who were on a motorbike, fired at a van carrying members of the minority Muslim community in the Speeni Road neighbourhood of Quetta city, the capital of Baluchistan, police official Jamil Kakar said.
“Four people including a woman were killed and seven others were wounded,” Kakar said. Afterwards, a policeman was shot dead by Shiite protesters in the Hazara Town neighbourhood of Quetta, where police tried to break up a road block erected by a mob, local police station chief Ameer Mohammad Dasti said.
Dozens of other Shiites demonstrated in Quetta’s main Meezan Chowk square and outside the provincial police chief’s office, and torched a motorcycle at a local hospital to protest against the killings, witnesses said.
Human rights groups have heavily criticised Pakistan for failing to crack down on sectarian violence between the majority Sunni Muslim community and Shiites, who account for around 20 percent of the population.
In a separate incident, gunmen shot dead two employees of the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) in Mastung, a city 40 kilometres (25 miles) south of Quetta, police official Shakir Ullah said.
“A driver and a staff member of FAO were killed and another staffer wounded after gunmen fired at their vehicle,” Ullah said.
Human rights groups say hundreds of people have been detained, killed or have gone missing as government troops have tried to crush an uprising that began in 2004.