Monday, November 18, 2013

Sectarian violence spreads in Pakistan after days of unrest

Sunni Muslims carry the casket of a fellow Sunni who was killed in Friday's sectarian clashes
during a Muharram procession, at Laiquat Bagh in Rawalpindi November 17, 2013.
DERA ISMAIL KHAN, Pakistan (Reuters) - Sectarian violence spread in Pakistan on Monday after clashes between minority Shi'ite and majority Sunni Muslims near the capital Islamabad prompted the government to impose a curfew and block mobile phone services over the weekend.

Clashes confined to areas in and around the capital at the weekend spilled over on Monday into two towns in the volatile northwest.

Tensions are high this month as Shi'ites mark Muharram, an annual period of mourning which has often sparked bouts of violence.

Rawalpindi, a garrison city near Islamabad, remained under curfew and tight security for three days after a Shi'ite procession on Friday degenerated into sectarian clashes which killed at least eight people.

On Monday, a mob set shops on fire in a predominantly Shi'ite district in the northwestern town of Kohat in clashes that killed a policeman and a civilian, police said.

Tensions were high in the northwestern city of Hangu, also subject to a curfew, local media reported.