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Shi'ite Hazara Men Gunned Down in Pakistan

  • Ayesha Tanzeem

FILE - Pakistanis from Shi'ite community block the main highway in Islamabad, Pakistan, July 22, 2016 while demanding government to provide their community security.

FILE - Pakistanis from Shi'ite community block the main highway in Islamabad, Pakistan, July 22, 2016 while demanding government to provide their community security.

Two men belonging to the Hazara community, a Shiite minority group, were gunned down Monday as they returned home from a fruit market in Quetta, Pakistan.

Ghulam Nabi and Muhammad Nabi were both residents of Alamdar road, an area dominated by the Hazara population.

The community has long been a target of sectarian Sunni militants. Their distinct facial features make them easily recognizable among the local population, and therefore an easier target for those looking to kill Shi'ites.

The Jamaatul Ahrar group of Pakistani Taliban has claimed responsibility for this attack.

The Hazaras in Quetta are related to the Hazara community in Afghanistan that was targeted last month in an attack in Kabul that killed more than 80 people. Islamic State had taken responsibility for that attack.

Members of the Quetta Hazara community demonstrated against that attack and held a candle light vigil for the victims.

In Pakistan, attacks on Hazaras have been ongoing for many years. The violence peaked in 2013 when more than 230 people were killed in various attacks throughout the year, according to a list prepared by Shi'ite community leaders in Quetta.

In January of 2013, more than 100 people were killed in two separate bomb blasts on Alamdar road, the same area where Monday’s victims lived.

In another attack a couple of years ago, militants stopped a local bus near Quetta, forced only the Hazara commuters off the bus, lined them up and shot them.

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