LAHORE  - In what appeared to be another sectarian attack, a 35-year-old Charted Accountant was killed in a drive-by shooting at a traffic signal near Firdous Market in Gulberg area on Wednesday night, police said.

Ali Hussain Qazilbash, an active member of the Shiite community, was on his way home when unidentified motorcyclists ambushed his Honda-civic car at a traffic signal near the Firdous Market.

Qazilbash, said to be a Charted Accountant at private firm in Lahore, received two bullets and died on-the-spot. The killers fled away from the crime scene instantly. The police reached the spot and removed the body to the morgue for autopsy.

No group has claimed the responsibility for the gun-attack yet. But police sources said the possibility of the involvement of militants linked to banned outfits, notably Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, in this deadly assault could not be ruled out.

Police investigators say they believe Ali Hussain Qazilbash was killed apparently in a sectarian attack. The abrupt shooting in the posh locality triggered panic among road-users and motorists during rush hours as they ran towards safer places while leaving their vehicles on the road. The police launched a search operation in the entire locality and also closed down the entry and exit points of the provincial metropolis for snap checking but no arrest was made till late Wednesday night. The Gulberg police registered a murder case against unidentified men on the complaint of Ahmed Anwar, a cousin of the deceased and are investigating.

Different Shiite organization strongly condemned the targeted killing and demanded the government to bring the killers to justice. They also staged a protest demonstration near Firdous Market to condemn what they said ‘a coward act of terrorism.’ Lahore Capital City Police Officer Chaudhry Shafiq Ahmed took serious notice of the brazen gun-attack and constituted a special police team to unearth the assassins.

There is no respite in sectarian violence in the Punjab metropolis as the police are unable to hunt down the killers behind such attacks. Security experts say sectarianism should be taken as a serious threat and the government must deal with it strictly.

In December, Ahle Sunnat Wal Jamaat provincial chief Maulana Shamsur Rehman Muavia was assassinated in a drive-by shooting near Ring Road when he was on his way home after Friday prayers. On Oct 22, a leader of the defunct Sipah-e-Muhammad, Dr Ghulam Raza, was shot dead at Shalimar.

Gunmen on motorbikes shot and killed a 45-year-old professor of ophthalmology and his 12-year-old son in Lahore’s posh locality of Gulberg in a similar sectarian attack in February last. In May, Sunni Tehreek leader Khurram Qadri had been shot dead in Samanabad area of Lahore.