Shia PPP politician killed in Peshawar

Pakistani policemen gather after the killing of a Shia Muslim judge in Quetta on August 30, 2012.

Gunmen have killed a Shia Muslim politician who was the senior member of the main ruling Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar, police say.

Dr. Riaz Hussein, the president of the PPP branch in the Kurram tribal region, was shot dead on Wednesday when he was leaving his clinic in the Dabgari area of Peshawar.

“The gunmen fired at Hussein’s car when he left his clinic. Apparently, he is victim of sectarian targeted killings,” said local police official Kamal Hussein.

Imran Shah, a senior police official, also said that police forces had launched “an investigation into the murder of Doctor Riaz Hussein,” adding that the incident “looks like a sectarian killing.”

Anti-Shia militant groups have been engaged in a violent campaign against Shias over the past few years.

Hundreds of Shia Muslims were killed across Pakistan last year.

The attacks targeted many doctors, engineers, high-ranking government officials, teachers, and politicians.

Human rights groups in Pakistan have vehemently criticized the government for its failure to stem the rising tide of violence against the country’s Shia Muslims.

Shias make up almost 20 percent of the country’s 180-million-strong population.