Radical Sunni Pakistanis Riot in Protest against Hanging Iranian diplomat's Killer
One civilian died and 11 were injured when Pakistani police and religious extremists exchanged fire Wednesday during violent protests against the execution of a Sunni prisoner, reported AFP.
"There has been an exchange of fire between protestors and police and several people have been injured," a local police officer told AFP.
Police later confirmed one protester had been killed in crossfire and another had been critically wounded, said the agency.
Convicted of killing an Iranian diplomat 10 years ago, Haq Nawaz was hanged Wednesday in a heavily fortified jail in eastern Punjab Province.
Nawaz, a militant Sunni Muslim activist, was found guilty of killing Sadiq Ganji of Iran in 1991 and sentenced to death. He was hanged shortly before dawn in Mianwali, 350 kilometers northeast of the provincial Punjab capital of Lahore, said The Associated Press earlier in the day.
In the days leading up to the execution police arrested about 1,000 members of Nawaz' militant Sunni Muslim group, Sipah-e-Sahaba or Guardians of the Companions of the Prophet, to prevent violent demonstrations, said The AP.
The Guardians of the Companions of the Prophet had pleaded with the president of Pakistan to commute the death sentence, added the agency, and organization leaders also met with Iranian officials to ask the Iranian government to accept diyya, or money in exchange for Nawaz' life, something that is allowed in Islam.
But Iran refused, group leader, Zahid Mahmood Qasmi told the AP.
There have been sporadic clashes between Sunni and Shiites Pakistanis, who coexist peacefully in general except for extremist groups from both sides, including Nawaqz’s group.
Seven people, all of them Shiite Muslims have been killed in shootings in Punjab and Sindh provinces at the hands of radical Sunnis, who accuse Iran of supporting Shiites with money and arms – Albawaba.com
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