Stampede kills 13 pilgrims in Pakistan

KURRAM AGENCY (PAKISTAN), MARCH 3. At least 13 Shia Muslim worshippers, eight of them women and five children, were killed in a stampede during a religious ceremony in a remote Pakistani tribal region, doctors said today.

The accident came hours after at least 44 people were killed and more than 150 wounded in a suspected sectarian attack on Shias by majority Sunni Muslim militants in the south-western city of Quetta.

The stampede was triggered by a power failure as hundreds of Shia women and children gathered on Tuesday in the tribal town of Para Chinar near the Afghan border to mark Ashura, one of the minority Muslim sect's holiest days, local Shia leader, Haji Nauroz, told.

Dr. Syed Amjad Hussain said eight women and five children were killed and 56 people were injured.

Dr. Hussain said the women panicked when the lights went out, thinking it could be another attack. They tried to rush out of the two-storey building, causing a staircase to collapse.

Judicial probe into attacks

Pakistan's Government announced a judicial inquiry today into a suicide attack on Shia Muslim worshippers that triggered sectarian clashes, leaving at least 43 people dead and causing carnage in this southwestern city.

Troops patrolled the deserted, riot-hit streets of Quetta, a day after three armed men sprayed gunfire and lobbed grenades at a religious procession, before blowing themselves up. More than 160 other people were wounded.