Pakistan: sectarian warfare rocks Tribal Areas

Gunmen opened fire on Shi’ites April 6 in Parachinar, a remote town in northwestern Pakistan, triggering gunbattles between majority Sunni and minority Shi’ites that have left at least 40 dead and 43 wounded. Some Shi’ites retaliated, burning down Sunni-owned shops and homes. Arbab Mohammed Arif Khan, secretary for law and order in Pakistan’s Tribal Areas, confirmed the death toll, and said the local government has imposed a round-the-clock curfew in the town. “People from both sides damaged each other’s property yesterday and today, and sporadic clashes are still continuing there,” he said April 7. (AP, April 7) Later that day, the army and paramilitary forces, backed by armored personnel carriers, entered Parachinar and secured positions. Cobra helicopters attacked combatant positions from the air. (Dawn, Pakistan, April 8)

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