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Sunday, 4 March, 2001, 19:00 GMT
Twelve killed in Pakistan shooting

Police say 12 people have been killed, including two policeman, in a shooting incident in eastern Pakistan.

Local people said six men on motorcycles drove into the town and opened fire several times, on one occasion near a Shi'a mosque.

Police described the incident as a sectarian attack against the minority Shi'a community.

Mourners with victim
About 3,000 people have died in sectarian violence in the past decade
The shooting happened in Sheikhopura district, some 40km from the Punjab provincial capital, Lahore.

There had been fears of violence following the recent execution of Nawaz Haq, a leading member of Sunni extremist group Sipah-e-Sahaba Pakistan (SSP), but it is not clear if there is any connection.

BBC Pakistan correspondent Susannah Price says the shooting appeared well planned and has resulted in the highest number of casualties from an attack of this kind for some years.

Two policemen who gave chase on motorcycles were among those shot dead.

Clashes

Police in Sheikhopura said armed Shi'as took to the streets after the attack and threatened SSP members.

"We have called extra police from the neighbouring district to ensure peace in the city," police chief Ali Amir said.

Thirteen people were killed in the town of Hangu in North-West Frontier province on Friday after a gunman opened fire in a bazaar, killing three Shi'a Muslim shopkeepers and injuring another.

Officials said those killed in the ensuing gun battles, in which heavy weaponry was used, were Sunni Muslims.

Some 3,000 people have died in sectarian violence between the majority Sunni and minority Shi'a communities in the past decade.

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See also:

02 Mar 01 | South Asia
Thirteen gunned down in Pakistan
28 Feb 01 | South Asia
Pakistan executes Sunni activist
21 Sep 00 | South Asia
Pakistan detains hardline Sunnis
12 Apr 00 | South Asia
Analysis: Pakistan's religious rift
07 Apr 00 | South Asia
Pakistan Shia leader shot dead
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