Prominent Shia doctor gunned down in Lahore

Unidentified armed men gunned down a prominent Shia doctor and his 13-year-old son in Lahore.

Lahore: Unidentified armed men gunned down a prominent Shia doctor and his 13-year-old son in this eastern Pakistani city on Monday, two days after 85 members of the minority sect were killed in a bombing in Quetta.

Syed Ali Haider, a well-known eye specialist, was driving his son Murtaza to school when his car was intercepted by two gunmen on a motorcycle on Zahoor Elahi Road.

The gunmen fired indiscriminately at the vehicle and escaped.

The father and son were taken to a nearby hospital, where doctors declared Haider dead on arrival. Murtaza succumbed to his injuries a short while later.

The shooting occurred near the private residence of Deputy Prime Minister Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi.

Several Shia professionals, including doctors and lawyers, have been gunned down in Lahore and Peshawar in recent weeks.

On Saturday, 85 people were killed and nearly 200 injured in a bomb attack in a Shia-dominated area of Quetta.

No one claimed responsibility for the killing of the doctor and his son.

Haider`s brother, retired judge Afzal Haider, said the family had no enemies.

The possibility that the shooting was sectarian in nature could not be ruled out, he said.

"We are devastated at the killing of our loved ones. The family has no enmity with anyone. I don`t know where we are heading. God help this country," he said.

Lahore Police spokesman Niyab Haider told a news agency that officials were investigating different aspects of the incident.

"We cannot confirm whether there is a sectarian element at this moment. Let the investigation be completed," he said. As news of Haider`s murder spread, doctors held a protest outside Lahore General Hospital and demanded the government arrest the killers.

Haider worked at Lahore General Hospital and was the son-in-law of Iftikhar Raja, the former principal of the King Edward Medical College.

Zahid Hussain, an official of Lahore General Hospital, said a strike would be observed in the facility tomorrow to protest the killing.

Emergency services would not be affected, he said.

In a separate development, a large number of Shias, including women and children, on Monday refused to end their sit-in outside Governor`s House in Lahore against the killing of Shia Hazaras in Quetta.

They said their protest would continue till security in Quetta was handed over to the Army.