Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

#TECH 24

Station F: Putting Paris on the global tech map

Read more

THE INTERVIEW

Davos 2017: 'I believe in the power of entrepreneurs to change the world'

Read more

FRANCE IN FOCUS

French education with a difference: Teachers who think outside the box

Read more

#THE 51%

Equality in the boardroom: French law requires large firms to have 40% women on boards

Read more

FASHION

Men's fashion: Winter 2017/2018 collections shake up gender barriers

Read more

ENCORE!

Turkish writer Aslı Erdoğan speaks out about her time behind bars

Read more

REVISITED

Video: Threat of economic crisis still looms in Zimbabwe

Read more

BUSINESS DAILY

DAVOS 2017: Has the bubble burst?

Read more

BUSINESS DAILY

DAVOS 2017: Summit overshadowed by geopolitical changes

Read more

Asia-pacific

Gunmen open fire on Shiites in Pakistan bus ambush

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2012-02-28

At least 18 Shiite Muslims were killed and eight wounded in Pakistan Tuesday when gunmen opened fire on a bus travelling to the northern city of Gilgit, in what local officials described as a sectarian attack.

AFP - Sectarian gunmen ambushed a bus on Tuesday, killing 18 Shiite Muslims in a usually peaceful region of northern Pakistan that neighbours the former Taliban stronghold of Swat, officials said.

The bus was stopped, before passengers were ordered off and shot in the mountainous district of Kohistan as it travelled from Rawalpindi, the city where Pakistan's army is headquartered, to the northern city of Gilgit.

"Armed men hiding on both sides of the road attacked the bus," local police chief Mohammad Ilyas said.

"Eighteen people have died and eight wounded," he added.

The ambush happened near the town of Harban, 130 miles (208 kilometres) north of the capital Islamabad.

Survivors said seven or eight gunmen stopped the bus, forced the passengers to get off and then opened fire, regional administration chief Khalid Omarzai told AFP by telephone, confirming the casualty numbers.

"It appears to be a sectarian attack," local MP Abdul Sattar Khan said.

"Its a remote area. We are getting reports that the gunmen forced people to get off the bus. They checked their papers and shot them dead," he told AFP.

The victims were Shiite Muslims, he said. "It could be the outcome of the murder of two Sunni Muslims a few days ago in Gilgit. The people of the area had vowed they would take revenge," Khan added.

Human rights groups have heavily criticised the Pakistani government for failing to crackdown on sectarian violence between the country's majority Sunni and minority Shiite Muslim communities that has killed thousands.

Authorities were slow to confirm the motive and insisted Islamist militants are not active in the area. Kohistan borders the Swat valley, where Pakistan in 2009 managed to put down a two-year Taliban insurgency.

Omarzai told AFP that he could not immediately confirm whether it was a sectarian attack, saying that the police were investigating.

Three bombs have targeted Pakistan's northwest in recent days, raising fears that violence linked to a Taliban insurgency directed against a government allied to the US-led war against terror is again on the rise.

More than 530 bomb attacks have killed around 4,900 people across Pakistan since government troops in July 2007 stormed a mosque in Islamabad where Islamist extremists were holed up, provoking a local Taliban-led insurgency.

 

Date created : 2012-02-28

  • Pakistan

    Pakistan demolishes Osama bin Laden site

    Read more

  • PAKISTAN

    Deadly suicide attack launched on police station

    Read more

  • PAKISTAN

    Blast rips through bus stop in north-west Pakistan

    Read more

COMMENT(S)