Eight people have been killed after gunmen opened fire on a bus carrying Shia Muslims in Balochistan, Pakistan.
The victims, members of the city’s Hazara community, were returning from a vegetable market in Quetta, the provincial capital, when gunmen attacked their vehicle.
“Two gunmen boarded the bus and shot the men,” a local police officer, Imran Qureshi, said. No one immediately claimed responsibility for the incident.
Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, a radical Sunni group, has previously carried out gun and bomb attacks on Hazaras. The militant group has virtually turned Quetta, where the Hazara community is concentrated, into a hunting ground for Shia, with leaflets shoved under doorways claiming they are infidels who deserve to die.
Given the history of attacks on Hazaras, police usually provide them with security when they go shopping in Quetta. “This particular group of Hazaras had not informed us about their movement,” a senior officer, Aitzaz Goraya, said.
According to the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, up to 200,000 Hazaras have fled to other cities or abroad in recent years.
Shia Muslims comprise about a fifth of Pakistan’s population of about 180 million. More than 800 have been killed in attacks in the country since 2012, Human Rights Watch says.