A group of unidentified militants have shot dead three Shia Muslims in Pakistan’s troubled southeastern province of Sindh, security sources say.
Senior police official Arab Mahar said the victims had just completed Friday prayers at the Najaf Imambargah (mosque) in the northern part of the city of Karachi — which is located 1,146 kilometers (712 miles) east of the capital, Islamabad — when militants opened fire on the motorbike they were riding.
The slain Shia Muslims were identified as 40-year-old Hashim Rizvi, Ali Sajid, 27, and 30-year-old Shamim Rizvi.
No group or person has yet claimed responsibility for the killings, but pro-Taliban militant groups have been blamed for such attacks in the past.
It was the first major incident of sectarian violence in Karachi in 2016.
On July 25, 2015, unknown assailants opened fire on Shia activist Syed Rais Jafferi, 57, in the Marton Quarters area of the port city. They later fled the scene on board a motorbike. Jafferi was rushed to a nearby hospital with fatal injuries following the assault. However, he was pronounced dead upon arrival at the medical center.
Karachi is home to numerous ethnic groups and has been hit by clashes between rival ethnic and political factions in the past two and a half decades. Sectarian, political and ethnic violence in Karachi has claimed the lives of hundreds of people over that time.
Several Shia religious gatherings have been attacked in different parts of Pakistan in recent years.
The country’s Shia leaders have called on the government to bring to justice those behind the ongoing bloodshed and targeted killings.
Several Sunni groups have also denounced the carnage of the Shia Muslims at the hands of the extremists and described the issue as a conspiracy against the South Asian country.