U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has condemned a deadly attack on Shia Muslims in north-western Pakistan, which reportedly left more than 20 people dead.
According to media reports, armed men stopped three buses near the northern city of Gilgit earlier on Thursday and forced passengers out of the vehicle. The gunmen then checked the identity papers of the passengers, before separating the Shias from the rest of the group and executing them.
"The Secretary-General expresses his outrage over such deliberate attacks on people due to their religious beliefs in Pakistan. He extends his heartfelt condolences to the families of the victims and to the Government and people of Pakistan," said a statement issued by Ban's office on Thursday.
No group has yet claimed responsibility for Thursday's attack, which Pakistani officials suspect had sectarian motives. They believe it was carried out by Sunni extremists allied to the al-Qaeda or the Taliban.
Such sectarian attacks are common in Pakistan, which is a Sunni-dominated Muslim nation with a Shia minority. In February, suspected Sunni insurgents shot dead 18 bus passengers in the northern district of Kohistan.
Later, 26 Shia pilgrims were killed in a similar attack by suspected Sunni insurgents on their bus in Baluchistan province in September. It was the deadliest targeting Shias after a suicide bomb attack on a Shia rally in Quetta in September 2010 killed at least 57 people.
by RTT Staff Writer
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