By Aamir Latif
KARACHI, (AA): At least five Shia Muslims, including a woman, were killed and 11 others injured when gunmen opened fire on a congregation in Pakistan’s commercial capital Karachi on Saturday, police said.
The incident, the latest in a series of sectarian attacks, occurred in Karachi’s central district, where over 50 people, mostly women, were attending women’s religious observances at a house, Nasir Aftab, a city police chief, told reporters.
Eyewitnesses told police that four assailants riding two motorbikes fired wildly on the people, who were standing outside the house with small weapons. Four people were killed on the spot, while a woman succumbed to her wounds at the hospital, Aftab said.
“Four men were brought dead to the hospital while a woman was brought with fatal injuries,” said Dr Rohina Hassan, the additional police surgeon at Abbasi Shaheed Hospital. The woman later succumbed to her injuries during treatment.
At least six people were also injured – two of them seriously – in the shooting, the police chief said.
Those murdered are: . Baqar Abbas Son of Qaiser Abbas, Nasir Abbas Son of Qaiser Abbas, Zaki Khan[Zakan] Son of Askari Khan, Murtaza Abbas Son of Baqar Abbas, driver Nadeem.
The men were, as it is the usual case, sittting outside the house.
The burial will take place on Monday 31 October.
“Ironically ,in the heart of federal capital terrorists of proscribed ASWJ and LeJ continued to enjoy full freedom raising slogans declaring Shia Muslims ‘kafir’ [non-believers],” said Shaheed Foundation Pakistan.
Lashkar-e-Jhangvi’s Al Alami faction claimed responsibility for the attack, according to the police.
Lashkar-e-Jhangvi’s Al Alami faction, which targets Shia Muslims and Pakistan’s security forces, killed more than 60 police cadets in the southwestern city of Quetta on Monday.
“Lashkar-e-Jhangvi Al Alami accepts responsibility for those killed in this attack, and we announce that there is no room for the enemies of the companions of the Prophet Muhammad in Pakistan,” said Ali bin Sufyan, the group’s spokesperson, in a statement.
Earlier this month, a boy was killed and 15 people, including women and children, were reportedly injured when an explosion occurred outside Dar-i-Abbas Imambargah in Karachi’s Liaquatabad area.
Shia Muslims make up about 20 percent of Pakistan’s 190 million people, and sectarian attacks against them – including bombings and targeted attacks – have become increasingly common in recent years.
Since 2002, more than 2,500 Shia Muslims have been killed in such attacks, according to data gathered by the South Asia Terrorism Portal. At least 23 people have been killed in such attacks this year, it said.
Additional reporting by The Muslim News
[Photo: Scene where the shooting and killing took place in Karachi killing Shia Muslims on 29 OCtober 2016. Photo by Dawn on line]