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Shiite leader shot dead in northwest Pakistan

A policeman stands guard at the site of explosions in Peshawar February 2, 2014. REUTERS/Fayaz Aziz

PESHAWAR, Pakistan: A prominent Shiite leader was shot dead in Pakistan's northwestern city of Peshawar on Tuesday, officials said, sparking a protest outside a hospital where his body was taken.

The killing comes just weeks after a Shiite scholar was gunned down in the same city.

"Haji Sardar Ali was shot dead in the morning in Kissa Khwani bazaar," senior police official Faisal Mukhtar told AFP.

Ali headed the local branch of the Tehrik-e-Nafaz-e-Fiqah-e-Jafaria,a Shiite rights movement.

Zaheer ul Islam, the deputy commissioner of Peshawar, confirmed the incident.

"Haji Sardar Ali owned a general store in (the) bazaar. He was going to his shop when unknown gunmen shot him dead," he said.

Ali was rushed to the city's Lady Reading Hospital but was pronounced dead on arrival, Mukhtar said.

An AFP correspondent at the hospital said around a hundred Shiites gathered outside and chanted slogans demanding the arrest of the attackers.

There has been no claim of responsibility so far.

"It looks like a sectarian target killing but the police are still investigating the case," Mukhtar said.

Scholar Allama Alim Al-Musvi was shot while walking to the mosque in the same bazaar on January 20.

There has been a rise in sectarian violence in Pakistan since several deadly clashes between Sunni and Shiite Muslim groups near the capital Islamabad in November.

Pakistan is rife with sectarian clashes. Sunni militant groups linked to Al-Qaeda and the Taliban often attack gatherings by Shiites, who make up some 20 percent of the country's mainly Muslim population.

 

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Summary

A prominent Shiite leader was shot dead in Pakistan's northwestern city of Peshawar on Tuesday, officials said, sparking a protest outside a hospital where his body was taken.

The killing comes just weeks after a Shiite scholar was gunned down in the same city.

Ali headed the local branch of the Tehrik-e-Nafaz-e-Fiqah-e-Jafaria,a Shiite rights movement.

There has been a rise in sectarian violence in Pakistan since several deadly clashes between Sunni and Shiite Muslim groups near the capital Islamabad in November.


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