Scores dead in Pakistan clashes

Soldiers ordered to shoot-on-sight to prevent sectarian violence in Kurram region.

    Soldiers in Parachinar have been given shoot-on-sight orders to stop the sectarian clashes [EPA]

    Shoot on sight


    Soldiers patrolling the streets of Parachinar, the main town in the Kurram region near the border with Afghanistan, have given orders to shoot-on-sight in an attempt to control the violence.

    The latest violence began a week ago when unidentified people began shooting at Shias near their mosque in the town, following days of growing tension over a rally organized by Sunnis to celebrate the birthday of Prophet Muhammad.

    Barakat said: "The sectarian violence was sparked on Friday after Shia Muslims attacked a Sunni convoy when Sunnis were celebrating al-Mawlid al-Nabawi [the birthday of Prophet Muhammad].


    "The next day, the Sunnis responded by attacking a Shia convoy that resulted in erupting the fighting."


    Tribal elders and clerics from the two sects have been trying to negotiate a ceasefire between the heavily armed rival groups.


    Governement criticised


    The government, which has come under criticism for failing to curb the clashes, is moving security forces to areas where fighting is still under way.


    Mujahid Hussain, a Shia Muslim from Parachinar, claimed that Sunni fighters from neighbouring North Waziristan had arrived in the region after Friday's clashes to support their opponents.


    Hussain said: "Our people saw the bodies of several Sunni militants, and they were from North Waziristan."

    Shias make up 20 per cent of Pakistan's 160 million population but are in the majority in Parachinar.

    More than 4,000 people have been killed as a result of sectarian violence in the country since the late 1980s.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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