KARACHI, Pakistan – A Pakistani counter-terrorism police officer says several Sunni and Shiite Muslim leaders have been detained in a probe over recent sectarian attacks in the southern port city of Karachi.
Junaid Sheikh said on Monday that Faisal Raza Abidi, a former outspoken anti-Taliban Shiite lawmaker from Pakistan’s liberal People’s Party, is among those facing questioning.
The police and Pakistan’s paramilitary forces have raided both Sunni and Shiite religious seminaries over the last two days, detaining an unspecified number of people, Sheikh said.
Pakistan’s Sunni militants, many affiliated with the Taliban and al-Qaida, have long targeted minority Shiites, considering them to be heretics. The police suspect some of Karachi’s recent sectarian killings of Sunnis could be the work of Shiite militants.
The raids also arrested two militants from the Taliban-linked sectarian group Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, who were allegedly involved in several killings, provincial chief minister Murad Ali Shah said. The police raids also sealed religious seminaries, he said, but he wouldn’t say how many.
The police suspect some of Karachi’s recent sectarian killings of Sunnis could be Shiite militants’ work.