ISLAMABAD - Gunmen riding motorbikes Sunday shot dead a leader from a hardline Sunni religious outfit in Rawalpindi in a suspected sectarian attack, officials said.

Mufti Amanullah, from the Ahle Sunnat Wal Jamaat (ASWJ), was travelling in a car when the attack occurred in Rawalpindi.

"At least four gunmen riding two motorbikes opened fire on Amanullah's car, killing him on the spot," ASWJ spokesman Hafiz Farooqi told AFP.

A local police official Imran Ahmad also confirmed the incident.

Amanullah was also incharge of the management of the Jamia Taleem-ul-Quran seminary, where clashes erupted last November when a religious procession by Shias coincided with a sermon at a Sunni mosque affiliated with the seminary.

It is widely believed that the sectarian group Sipah-e-Sahaba Pakistan renamed itself as ASWJ after being banned in 2002 and is still referred to by its members by its former name.

Meanwhile, unknown miscreants gunned down Maulana Sher Alam Farooqi, a leader of Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam (JUI-F), in KP city of Hangu on Sunday.

Police said that the incident took place in Tor Gundai area of Doaba in district Hangu where unidentified gunmen sprayed bullets at Maulana Farooqi.

As a result of firing, the JUI-F leader died on the spot while the assailants managed to escape.

Police and other law-enforcement agencies (LEAs) personnel cordoned off the area after the firing incident and started search operation.

JUI-F Information Secretary Jalil Jan later said that the armed men opened firing on Farooqi outside his residence.

The 55-year-old Farooqi graduated from Haqqania Madrassa and was the Deputy Emir of Thall Tehsil of Hangu.

Mauala Sher Alam Faroqi was a close associate and class fellow of Maulana Gul Naseeb Khan.

The JUI-F has held the PTI government responsible for the death of their leader.

JUI-F KP President Maulana Gul Naseeb Khan in a statement said that the KP government has failed to protect its citizens.

JI General Secretary Maulana Shuja-ul-Mulk said that the provincial government is not serious in controlling the law and order situation.

The country is facing rising sectarian violence with prominent Sunni and Shia figures often coming under attack in all major cities of the country.

A professor of Islam known for his liberal religious views, Mohammad Shakil Auj was gunned down in his car in Karachi on Thursday while on his way to an Iranian cultural centre where he was invited as a guest of honour.