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25 killed in sectarian attack in north Pakistan

India TV News Desk 16 Aug 2012, 22:06:56 PM IST
India TV News Desk
Islamabad, Aug 16: Suspected militants today pulled out 25 Shia Muslims from three buses and shot them dead in northern Pakistan, the third such sectarian attack in the restive region in six months.

The gunmen stopped the buses in Naran Valley of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province and asked the people to get out of the vehicles, witnesses told TV news channels.  

The gunmen, who were masked, shot dead 25 Shias after checking their identity cards and papers. Several others were injured in the attack, officials said.

Witnesses said ten to 15 gunmen were involved in the incident, which officials described as a sectarian attack.  

Some reports said the attackers were wearing army uniforms though this could not be independently confirmed.  

The buses were going from the garrison city of Rawalpindi to Astore in Gilgit-Baltistan, which has a sizeable Shia population.

The incident occurred at a spot about 160 km from Islamabad.  No group claimed responsibility for the attack.  Sectarian violence has killed hundreds of Pakistanis in recent years.  

This was the third attack on Shias travelling in buses in the northern part of the country in six months.  

On February 28, gunmen in military uniforms dragged 18 Shia Muslim men out of buses and shot them dead.  

On April 3, a Sunni mob dragged nine Shia men from buses and shot them in Chilas town. Most such attacks are blamed on the banned Lashkar-e-Jhangvi.

Shias and other minority communities say those behind sectarian violence are rarely caught or punished.