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Shiite Muslim Killed in Pakistan

November 28, 1998

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan (AP) _ Gunmen in Pakistan’s eastern Punjab province shot and killed a lawyer and his teen-age son Saturday. Police feared the killings could set off a new outbreak of violence between religious rivals.

Sayed Ansar ul-Hasan, a Shiite Muslim, and his son, Iatisar, had left their home in Jhang, about 120 miles from Islamabad, when gunmen on a motorcycle fired on them.

Lawyers in Jhang staged a boycott later Saturday to protest the killings.

While no on has claimed responsibility, police suspect that the killings may have involved activists of a rival Sunni Muslim militant group, Sipah-e-Sahaba or the Guardians of the Friends of the Prophet.

The majority of Pakistan’s 140 million people are Sunni Muslims, the biggest single sect in Islam. Most live in peace with Shiite Muslims, Islam’s second-largest sect.

In recent years, however, militant groups from both sects have sprung up, and their activists routinely clash.

Police have arrested several suspects in Saturday’s shootings, but authorities haven’t charged anyone so far.

On Friday, the Punjab provincial Law Minister Raja Basharat said 422 people have been killed in religiously motivated violence in Punjab so far this year.

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