Four Christians shot dead in southwestern Pakistan: Officials

USAUpdated: Apr 02, 2018, 11:03 PM IST
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A furious father shot dead his 19-year-old daughter in Pakistan’s Karachi on Monday. (Representative image) Photograph:(ANI)

Four Christians were shot dead by unidentified gunmen in southwestern Pakistan on Monday, police said, in an apparent attack on the religious minority.

The incident occurred in a Christian-majority neighbourhood in the city of Quetta, capital of the Balochistan province.

"Three members of a family, including a woman, were killed when the motor rickshaw they were (in)... came under attack," Moazzam Jah Ansari, the police chief of the province, told AFP.

"The rickshaw driver, who was also a Christian by faith, is among the dead."

Police officials said this appeared to be a targeted attack on Christians in the area.

"Initial investigations suggest the people were ambushed because of their faith," Ansari said.

A child was injured in the attack and is receiving treatment at a hospital, officials said. Ghulam Ali Baloch, a local official, said her injuries were not life-threatening. 

There was no immediate claim of responsibility, but Islamist militants have in the past attacked Christians and other religious minorities in Balochistan.

In December last year, two suicide bombers blew themselves up at a Quetta church, which was packed with worshippers, killing nine people and wounding over a dozen.

In addition to Islamist extremists, ethnic Baloch militants have been fighting a low-intensity separatist insurgency in the province for years, often bombing infrastructure like railroads and power lines.

Christians make up less than two percent of Muslim-majority Pakistan`s 200 million people, and have long faced discrimination and violence.