Twelve people belonging to the Shia Hazara community along with a passenger were martyred while seven injured in a firing incident near the Western Bypass in Quetta on Tuesday morning.
About 20 people were on board a bus when unidentified gunmen appeared on a motorcycle and opened fire at the vehicle enroute to Hazara Ganji.
The Shiite News Correspondent reported that the passengers were on their way to the fruit and vegetable market when the assailants opened fire.Â â€œThe bus was carrying people mostly from the Hazara ShiaÂ community who were returning from Quetta,â€ senior police HamidÂ Shakeel told Reuters.
â€œFour gunmen of Nasabi-Wahabi terrorists outfits of Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, Sipah-e-Sahaba and Taliban riding two motorcycles opened fire on a bus in the outskirts of Quetta,â€ local police official Hamid Shakeel told AFP.
â€œThe death toll has risen to 13. Two of the injured who were in critical condition died in hospital. Now 12 Shiite Muslims and one Pashtun have been martyred in the attack,â€ he said.
Meanwhile, police have cordoned off the area and initial investigations of the incident is underway.Â Sectarian violence is on the rise in Quetta as 26 Shia pilgrims were martyred in a firing incident last month in Mastung, about 30 kilometres southeast of Quetta, when a group of armed Wahabi terrorists attacked a passenger bus carrying Shia pilgrims from Quetta to Iran.
The Mastung attack was claimed by banned militant outfit Laskar-e-Jhangvi.
Up to 400 furious Hazaras demonstrated outside the Bolan Medical Complex where the wounded were taken for treatment, condemning the government for inaction over sectarian groups, said police official Wahid Bakhsh.
Angry protesters also reportedly set ablaze the bus that was attacked by the assailants.
â€œThese are not random killings but demonstrate the deliberate targeting of the Shia by armed groups,â€ said Amnestyâ€™s Asia-Pacific director Sam Zarifi.
â€œThese attacks prove that without an urgent and comprehensive government response, no place is safe for the Shia,â€ Zarifi added.
The rights group said it had recorded details of at least 15 attacks specifically targeting Shiites across Pakistan.
â€œContinued failure to address sectarian violence will only exacerbate the general breakdown in law and order in Pakistan,â€ it said.
Pakistanâ€™s own independent rights watchdog said the killers had been emboldened by a persistent lack of action against sectarian militant groups, which have been implicated in thousands of deaths in past years.
Tuesdayâ€™s attack â€œexposes once again the diminishing writ of the stateâ€, warned the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP).
Balochistan is also rife with militancy and a regional insurgency waged by separatists who rose up in 2004 demanding political autonomy and a greater share of profits from the regionâ€™s wealth of natural resources.
Shia Organizations condemnation
Majlis-e-Wehdat Muslameen (MWM), Jaffaria Alliance Pakistan, Hazara Democratic Party, Tahafuz-e-Azadari Council, Imamia Students Organization, and Shia Ulema Council strongly condemned and deeply regret the unfortunate barbaric act of terrorism in Quetta on Tuesday in which 12 Shia Muslims were martyred and several injured.
The Shia organizations annouced three days of mourning to observe in protest against the killing of innocent Shia Muslims in Quetta and urged the Government to take immediate action against the criminals saying that its the time to eradicate and erase the terrorism.