Six killed as Sunni leader targeted in Pakistan

AFP , Tuesday 25 Dec 2012

Maulana Aurangzeb Farooqi survives assassination attempt that claims the lives of six

Gunmen opened fire on a car carrying a senior figure from an extremist Muslim Sunni group in the Pakistani city of Karachi on Tuesday, killing four policemen and two other people, police said.

The target of the attack, Maulana Aurangzeb Farooqi, was hit in the leg by a bullet and needed hospital treatment but his injuries were not life-threatening, police said.

His group, the Ahle Sunnat wa Al-Jamaat, said that he had been targeted by a rival minority Shiite group.

Karachi, Pakistan's biggest city, is in the grip of a long-running wave of political and sectarian violence involving Sunni and Shiites, who account for around 20 percent of the 180 million population of Muslim-majority Pakistan.

"At least four policemen, a guard and a driver were killed in firing by unknown gunmen," senior police official Shahid Hayat told AFP.

Karachi police chief Iqbal Mehmood confirmed the attack and casualties and said that initial investigations showed that the gunmen were on a motorcycle, and the policemen who were killed had been escorting Farooqi.

Witnesses said that Farooqi's supporters blocked roads and burnt used tyres to protest against the attack.

Nationwide sectarian violence between Sunnis and Shiites is estimated to have killed more than 4,000 people since the late 1990s.

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