Five teachers and two labourers were gunned down Thursday at a school in northwest Pakistan, in an attack linked to Sunni-Shiite sectarian tensions, police and government officials said.
“When the two attackers went inside (the school), they identified Shiite people and separated them before opening fire,” Muhammad Imran, police chief for Kurram district in Pakistan’s former tribal areas, told AFP.
The shooting occurred after news spread that a man from the Sunni Muslim community died in hospital after being attacked earlier in the day, said Amir Nawaz, a senior government official in Parachinar, the main town in the largely Shiite Kurram district.
“The first incident took place at 11:30am (06:30 GMT) and the second attack took place at 2:30pm. These attacks were linked to sectarian violence,” Nawaz said, confirming the death toll in both attacks.
Zulfiqar Khan, an official from the local health department, said a state of emergency had been declared at local hospitals.
Police said authorities were in talks with both communities to restore peace in the district, which borders Afghanistan and has a long history of sectarian violence.
Shiite Muslims make up roughly 20 per cent of Pakistan’s population of more than 220 million.
Kurram is part of the former Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), a semi-autonomous region in northwestern Pakistan that was merged with Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province in 2018, bringing it into the legal and administrative mainstream.