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Gunmen kill two Sunni leaders in Islamabad

04 January, 2014

ISLAMABAD: Gunmen killed two senior members of a Sunni group in a rare attack in the capital on Friday, officials said, after weeks of sectarian tensions in the country.

The secretary general of the Islamabad chapter of the Ahl-e-Sunnat Wal Jamaat (ASWJ) organisation, Mufti Muneer Muavia, and his colleague Qari Asad Mehmood were targeted in a residential area bordering the twin city of Rawalpindi.

"Two unknown gunmen sprayed bullets on their car and escaped from the scene on a motorcycle," Ghazanfar Niaz Ahmed, an official on duty in the local police station, told AFP. The gunmen managed to escape from the scene.

Another police official Muhammed Nawaz, who was at the crime scene, confirmed that the victims were from the ASWJ. ASWJ is known as the political arm of Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, one of the most active militant groups in Pakistan, responsible for a string of bloody attacks on Shias.

A party official confirmed its activists were targeted. "Our leaders were killed in a targeted attempt on their life," Muhammed Tayyeb Haidri, an ASWJ spokesman in Islamabad, told AFP. The activists of ASWJ staged a protest demonstration by placing the victims' bodies on a road, demanding arrest of the culprits.

The police managed to convince the protesters to end their agitation and allow the authorities to shift bodies to hospital for the medical formalities. There has been a rise in sectarian violence in Pakistan after several deadly clashes between Sunni and Shia groups near Islamabad in November last year.

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