A mourner (second right) and investigators inspect a car after an attack by unknown gunmen on Sunnis in Islamabad yesterday.
ISLAMABAD: Gunmen killed two senior members of a hardline Sunni Muslim group in a rare attack in the Pakistani capital yesterday, officials said, after weeks of sectarian tensions in the country.
The secretary-general of the Islamabad chapter of the Ahl-e-Sunnat Wal Jamaat (ASWJ) organisation, Mufti Muneer Muavia, and his colleague Qari Asad Mehmood were targeted in a residential area bordering the twin city of Rawalpindi.
“Two unknown gunmen sprayed bullets on their car and escaped from the scene on a motorcycle,” Ghazanfar Niaz Ahmed, an official on duty in the local police station, said.
Another police official Muhammed Nawaz, who was at the crime scene, confirmed that the victims were from the ASWJ.
ASWJ is known as the political arm of Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, one of the most active terror groups in Pakistan, responsible for a string of bloody attacks on Shia.
A party official confirmed its activists were targeted.
“Our leaders were killed in a targeted attempt on their life,” Muhammed Tayyeb Haidri, an ASWJ spokesman in Islamabad, said.
There has been a rise in sectarian violence in Pakistan after several deadly clashes between Sunni and Shia Muslim groups near Islamabad in November last year.
Shia make up around 20 percent of Pakistan’s population, which is largely Sunni.
Sunni Muslim also known as Sunni Islam is the world’s largest religious body and largest religious denomination for any religion in the world.
Shia Muslim also known as Shia Islam represent the second largest denomination of Islam and adherents of Shia Islam.
The history of Sunni-Shia relations has often involved violence, dating back to the earliest development of the two competing sects.
Militarily established and holding control over the Umayyad government, many Sunni rulers perceived the Shia as a threat – both to their political and religious authority. AFP