x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Pakistan imposes new curfews after sectarian clash

Curfews imposed and troops deployed in two different areas of north-west Pakistan after three people killed during sectarian clash.

Pakistani soldiers keep watch as Sunni Muslims demonstrate in front of a burnt mosque following sectarian clashes in Rawalpindi. Farooq Naeem / AFP
Pakistani soldiers keep watch as Sunni Muslims demonstrate in front of a burnt mosque following sectarian clashes in Rawalpindi. Farooq Naeem / AFP

ISLAMABAD // Authorities imposed curfews and deployed troops in two different areas of north-west Pakistan yesterday after three people were killed during a sectarian clash.

The violence occurred in Kohat city, where members of a hard-line Sunni group, Ahle Sunnat Waljamaat, were holding a rally to protest a sectarian clash in Rawalpindi city on Friday that killed 10 people, including at least eight Sunnis, said the policeman Fazal Naeem Khan.

Shooting broke out during yesterday’s rally, killing three people, including a policeman and two civilians, said Mr Khan.

Sunnis then clashed with police and Shiites, and several shops were set on fire.

Authorities responded by deploying troops and imposing a curfew in Kohat district and Hangu district.

The development came shortly after officials lifted a curfew in Rawalpindi that had been imposed after the clashes there on Friday.

Army troops will continue to patrol the city for several more days, and there is still a ban on more than four people assembling in one place, police said.

The sectarian clash in Rawalpindi occurred when hundreds of Shiites were holding a procession to mark Ashoura, one of the sect’s most important religious occasions. The Shiites clashed with members of an Islamic seminary affiliated with Ahle Sunnat Waljamaat.

Ten people were killed in the clash and 56 were wounded.

At least eight of the dead were Sunnis.

Outbursts of sectarian violence occur regularly in Pakistan. Hardliners from the Sunni majority who consider Shiites to be heretics have targeted the sect with bombs and shootings, with Shiite attacks on Sunnis less common, at least in recent years.

* Associated Press