“There’s still a tendency to see these things in Sunni-Shia terms. But the Middle East is going to have to overcome that.” — Condoleeza Rice
I’m sure they’ll be getting right on that, Madame Secretary.
By Riaz Khan for Associated Press, with thanks to Lawrence:
PESHAWAR, Pakistan (AP) — Gunbattles between majority Sunnis and minority Shiites left at least 40 people dead and 43 wounded in remote northwestern Pakistan after men opened fire on Shiite Muslims, a Pakistani official said Saturday.
Arbab Mohammed Arif Khan, secretary for law and order in Pakistan’s semiautonomous tribal regions, said authorities had imposed a round-the-clock curfew to control the situation in Parachinar in North West Frontier province bordering Afghanistan.
“People from both sides damaged each other’s property on Friday and Saturday, and sporadic clashes are still continuing there,” Khan said.
The trouble began Friday when gunmen began shooting at Shiites near their mosque, according to Gul Jan, a local resident.
Some of the Shiites blamed rival Sunni Muslims and began burning Sunni-owned shops and homes, local Sunni leader Shirin Mengal said in Peshawar, capital of the province where the clashes occurred. Mengal claimed that about 400 homes and shops of Sunni Muslims had been burned by Shiites.