Shi’ite Mosque in Pakistani Capital Attacked

News and Press Release
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November 29, 2017 12:52 PM
Ayaz Gul

ISLAMABAD — Suspected militants attacked worshipers outside a Shi’ite Muslim mosque, killing at least one person and wounding four others late Wednesday in the Pakistani capital.

Police said four gunmen arrived on motorbikes at the mosque in Islamabad’s I-8 residential sector and opened fire on worshipers as they were coming out after offering evening prayers.

Members of the minority Shi’ite community swiftly took to the streets to protest the violence and denounce the government for failing to protect them.

No one claimed responsibility for the violence. Security cameras installed around the mosque captured shots of gunmen spraying bullets with automatic weapons before fleeing the scene.

Militant groups from the majority Sunni Muslim population in Pakistan are blamed for being behind the sectarian violence. The rivalry between the two Muslim sects in the country has claimed thousands of lives over the years.

Wednesday’s attack came amid an uptick in militant violence in the country that has killed dozens of people including several top police and military personnel this month.

It came a day after activists of a hardline Sunni group ended a demonstration that had blocked a main entrance to Islamabad, effectively paralyzing the capital city.

The protesters were demanding the federal law minister resign for allegedly committing blasphemy and dispersed after the beleaguered federal government accepted the demand.

Analysts and newspaper continue to criticize authorities for what they are denouncing as a "surrender to extremism."