Pakistan ends curfew imposed after sectarian clash

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Pakistani Sunni Muslims carry the casket of a victim killed in Friday's sectarian clashes during funeral prayers in Rawalpindi, Pakistan, Sunday, Nov. 17, 2013. The Pakistani government imposed a rare curfew on Saturday in a northern city where sectarian clashes during a Shiite religious commemoration broke out the day before, while Taliban insurgents threatened to avenge the eight Sunni Muslims who authorities say were killed. (AP Photo/Anjum Naveed)

ISLAMABAD (AP) — The government lifted a rare curfew in the garrison city of Rawalpindi on Monday that was imposed after sectarian clashes between Shiite and Sunni Muslims killed 10 people, officials said.

Army troops will continue to patrol the city for several more days, and there is still a ban on more than four people assembling in one place, said police officer Mohammad Amir.

The sectarian clash that prompted the curfew occurred Friday, when hundreds of Shiites were holding a procession to mark Ashoura, one of the sect's most important religious occasions. The Shiites clashed with members of an Islamic seminary affiliated with a hard-line Sunni group, Ahle Sunnat Waljamaat.

Ten people were killed in the clash and 56 people were wounded, said the Rana Sanaullah, the law minister for Punjab province, where Rawalpindi is located.

At least eight of the dead were Sunni Muslims. The identities of the other two were not made clear.

Members of Ahle Sunnat Waljamaat held a rally in the northwest city of Kohat on Monday to protest the violence in Rawalpindi. Shooting broke out at the rally, killing three people, said police officer Fazal Naeem Khan. One of the dead was a policeman, and two were civilians, said Khan. It was unclear if the civilians killed were members of the hard-line Sunni group.

Outbursts of sectarian violence occur regularly in Pakistan. Hard-liners from the Sunni majority who consider Shiites to be heretics have targeted the sect with bombs and shootings, with Shiite attacks on Sunnis less common, at least in recent years.


Associated Press writer Riaz Khan contributed to this report from Peshawar, Pakistan.