British Muslim tourist killed in sectarian attack in Pakistan

Naiyyar Mehdi Zaidi (left), 60, from London, was killed along with his brother Nasir Abbas Zaidi, 45, from Seattle, USA,

A British tourist has been killed in a sectarian attack on a Shia gathering in Pakistan, The Independent is reporting.

Naiyyar Mehdi Zaidi, 60, from London, and two of his brothers were shot and killed when two gunmen on a motorcycle opened fire at a gathering in Karachi.

Another man and a woman were also killed and six other people injured in the attack.

Mr Zaidi’s daughter-in-law Qaisra Khan told The Independent the group was standing outside a Shia ladies prayer meeting when gunmen drove past and tried to gain entry to where the women had gathered.

After guards closed the gates to prevent the gunmen from entering, they reportedly opened fire on the men.

“Two attackers on a motorbike opened indiscriminate fire on the participants coming for the gathering,” senior police official Tayyab Muqaddas Haider told AFP. The attackers fled the scene after the assault, he added.

Ms Khan said the prayer meeting had been specifically targeted in a sectarian attack.

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“I think they’re just targeting every minority gathering,” she said. “It’s indiscriminate. It’s a Shia gathering and therefore it was targeted.”

The Lashkar-i-Jhangvi al-Alami organisation claimed responsibility for the attack. The LeJ has claimed responsibility for various mass casualty attacks against the Shia community in Pakistan, including multiple bombings that killed over 200 Hazara Shias in Quetta in 2013.

Mr Zaidi had travelled to Karachi to prepare for another son’s wedding next summer. He was due to return to the UK on 7 November.

Massoud Shadjareh of the Islamic Human Rights Commission has just returned from Pakistan where he was doing work to unite different communities.

Commenting on the killings he told 5Pillars: “These atrocities go on for so long and affect so many people and happen so frequently that victims just become numbers… But the reality is that it is tearing communities apart and that is what it is designed to do. It’s for the rest of us to come together whatever our background and religious affiliations and say enough is enough and put a stop to these tafkiri killings.”

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office advice for tourists visiting Pakistan warns there is a high threat from terrorism, kidnap and sectarian attack throughout the country.

Sectarian violence, especially against Shia Muslims – who make up roughly 20 per cent of Pakistan’s 200 million people – has claimed thousands of lives in the country over the last decade.

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