At least 22 people were killed and twice the number injured in the north western district of Hangu on Friday when people were leaving two mosques.
Though Shias and Sunnis were killed in the explosion as both communities had their own mosques on the same lane, police maintained that the Shia community was the target of the attack.
No organisation had claimed responsibility for the attack till evening but some local reports suggested a linkage between the attack and the killing of a Sunni cleric in Karachi on Thursday.
Mufti Abdul Majeed Dinpori, the senior-most faculty member of Jamia Binnoria — one of the largest seminaries of the country — his deputy and a student were shot dead at point blank range in Karachi on Thursday afternoon, sparking tension in the volatile metropolis.
The Shia community has been a target of repeated attacks across the country over the past couple of years and January itself saw 86 Hazara Shias being killed in a single day in serial blasts in Quetta. According to the latest report of Human Rights Watch (HRW) — released on Thursday — 325 members of the Shia Muslim population were killed in targeted attacks across the country in 2012.
“Sunni militant groups, including those with known links to the Pakistani military, its intelligence agencies, and affiliated paramilitaries — such as the ostensibly banned Lashkar-e-Jhangvi — operated with widespread impunity across Pakistan, as law enforcement officials effectively turned a blind eye to attacks,’’ the HRW report said.