QUETTA - Gunmen riding motorcycles on Monday opened fire outside a passport office in Quetta, killing three people, including a police officer, in an attack police blamed on extremists groups.
Police said the firing incident took place at Joint Road outside passport office in the provincial capital where miscreants opened fire at people present on the scene.
Three people including two real brothers Hassan and Shabbir belonging to Hazara community and a cop, Kala Khan, died on the spot while a woman sustained serious wounds.
The brothers were entering the city’s passport office along with their parents when the waiting gunmen opened fire.
“The boys, in their twenties, were killed in the shooting while their parents were wounded and a policeman who was passing by the site was also killed after he shot and wounded one attacker,” senior police official Abdul Razzaq Cheema said.
He added that two gunmen were involved in the shooting but they had others assist them in escaping the scene.
Balochistan Home Secretary confirmed the shooting and the casualties. Police later said they had arrested one wounded suspect, who claimed he was not an attacker but a passerby.
The assailants managed to flee from the scene after committing the triple murder. The injured woman was rushed to Combined Military Hospital (CMH) for treatment.
Police blamed Monday’s attack in Quetta on Sunni militant groups. “It is a sectarian targeted killing,” said police officer Ajab Khan Kakar, adding that the two Hazara men were brothers.
More than 100 Shias have been killed in attacks in Pakistan this year, including 45 gunned down on a bus in Karachi and 62 in a suicide bombing in January. Another police official, Abdul Razzak Cheema, blamed extremists for the attacks, saying the Lashkar-e-Jhangvi extremist group was possibly involved.
Members of Hazara community protested by placing the bodies of victims, wrapped in shrouds, outside the regional police chief’s office, witnesses said.
No group immediately came forward to claim responsibility for the shooting, which came a day after a bomb attack in a crowded marketplace in the same city killed one and wounded eight.
The blast was claimed Monday by sectarian groups Jaish-ul-Islam and Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, which have flourished in recent years despite being outlawed.
Lashkar-e-Jhangvi was blamed for twin blasts in Quetta in 2013 that killed around 180 people, mostly civilians from a Shia ethnic group.
It was also involved in assaults in 2009 on Pakistan’s military headquarters and on Sri Lanka’s visiting cricket team.
Meanwhile, three suspected militants were arrested in Baldia Plaza during a raid by FC and police personnel. A spokesman for the FC said that arms were recovered from the suspects. He said the action was taken after Sunday’s blast n the city.
Unknown miscreants stabbed to death manager of a local non-governmental organisation (NGO) in Quetta on Monday and fled the scene.
Police said the unidentified culprits attacked Abdul Rauf, manager of a local NGO with a sharp-edged weapon in Jinnah Town locality of Quetta, killing him on the spot and escaped after committing crime.
The body was shifted to Civil Hospital for medico-legal requirements.
The police after registering a case against unknown murderers started an investigation.