Peshawar: Two Sikh businessmen were shot dead by the Islamic State terrorists in northwest Pakistan on Sunday, the latest targeted attack against the minority community members in the restive province bordering Afghanistan.
Kanwaljeet Singh, 42, and Ranjeet Singh, 38, died on the spot after being attacked by two bike-borne assailants in the morning in Bata Tal bazaar of Sarband, Peshawar, the capital of northwestern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, according to the police.
The attackers fled after carrying out the attack. The victims were in the business of spices and had shops in the Bata Tal bazaar in Sarband, about 17 km from Peshawar.
The Islamic State's Khorasan unit (ISKP) claimed that it carried out the attack targeting two Sikhs in Peshawar. The ISKP is an affiliate of the Islamic State (IS) active in South Asia and Central Asia.
The Counter-Terrorism Department registered a case of murder of the two Sikh men, Saddar Superintendent of Police Aqiq Hussain told Geo News.
"The incident appears to be a terrorist attack. The CCTV footage will be acquired and the suspects will be arrested soon," he said. A large number of angry Sikh protesters blocked the Peshawar-Islamabad road in front of Qila Bala Hissar to register their protest against the killing. They were holding placards against the brutal killings and raising slogans - "Stop target killings", "We want justice."
Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif strongly condemned the incident and directed Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Chief Minister Mahmood Khan to ensure immediate arrest and punishment of the culprits. He also ordered a high level inquiry into the incident.
He urged the chief minister to ensure steps for the protection of the lives and properties of the citizens, particularly of non-Muslims. He observed that enmity with Pakistan was the reason behind this act of terrorism and resolved to eliminate the enemies of the country, the report said.
Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah criticised the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government for the attack and sought a report from the provincial chief secretary and inspector general of police.