Senior geologist Mohsin Naqvi shot dead in Quetta

QUETTA: Gunmen shot dead a senior official of the Geological Survey of Pakistan on Wednesday in an apparent sectarian attack in the southwestern province of Balochistan, police said.

Mohsin Ali Naqvi, a member of the minority Shia community, was gunned down outside his office in Quetta, the Balochistan capital, Mohammed Ayaz, a senior police official, told AFP.

“We are investigating the crime but it seems a case of sectarian killing. There is a wave of sectarian killing in the country and this is part of that,”Ayaz said.

Another official who is in charge of the local police station said the gunmen were waiting for Naqvi, a deputy director of the Survey, at the main gate of his office.

“Two gunmen were waiting for him at the main gate of his office. They fired bullets at him from close range and escaped,” said Noor Bukhsh. “His family said they had no feud with anybody and Naqvi was killed because he was Shia.”

Sectarian violence involving Sunni and Shia Muslims, who account for around 20 per cent of the 167 million population, has killed more than 4,000 people since the late 1990s.

Last month a Shia judge was shot dead in Quetta along with his driver and police bodyguard.

The province, which borders Iran and Afghanistan, is plagued by sectarian violence between Shia and majority Sunnis, as well as Taliban attacks and a separatist insurgency.

Despite having large reserves of oil and gas, Balochistan remains one of Pakistan’s most impoverished provinces, and bomb blasts and attacks on police and security forces are common.

In 2004 Baluch rebels rose up, demanding political autonomy and a greater share of profits from the region’s mineral resources. (AFP)