Install

Get the latest updates as we post them — right on your browser

. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Sunni's Funeral Brings Violence

JHANG, Pakistan -- Sectarian violence erupted Tuesday in several Pakistani cities during funeral services for a Sunni Muslim politician, Maulana Azam Tariq, a day after he was gunned down along with four others in the capital.

Many called for revenge against minority Shiites, raising fears that the killing could lead to more sectarian bloodletting in a country that has been awash in it for years. A previously unknown Shiite group claimed responsibility for the attack. It accused Tariq of working with Jews to split the unity of the Islamic world.

Interior Minister Faisal Saleh Hayyat said an investigation into the killing was ongoing. "We cannot blame anyone until we have evidence," Hayyat said. "We have some clues, but we cannot disclose them. I can only say we are on the right track." Hayyat said the killers aimed to create "unrest and sectarian hatred in the country."

In Islamabad earlier, violence erupted outside Parliament after a funeral service for Tariq. Hundreds of Islamic seminary students went on a rampage, setting fire to a Shiite Muslim shrine and a movie theater, smashing shop windows and chanting anti-Shiite slogans. A 24-year-old theater employee died after being overcome by smoke, and eight other people were injured.

Thousands flooded a main traffic intersection in the capital for the funeral service. "Shiites are infidels!" many in the crowd chanted, as hundreds of heavily armed police stood by. Later in Jhang, where Tariq's body was flown to be buried, Sunni rioters burned down a Shiite mosque and set a gas station pump on fire. Gunshots rang out at a sports stadium where at least 25,000 people had gathered.