Heavily-armed gunmen shot dead 47 members of the Ismaili Shia community and injured 13 others in a targeted attack on their bus in the Pakistani port city of Karachi today, in signs of extended attacks on the country's minorities.
Around six to eight gunmen in police uniform armed with 9mm pistols boarded a bus, carrying around 60 people, near Safoora Chowk area of Karachi and opened fire indiscriminately.
The gunmen, who arrived on motorbikes, escaped after the attack on motorcycles.
There were conflicting reports of the Islamic State group claiming responsibility for the barbaric attack and a splinter faction of the Pakistani Taliban called Jundullah, or Army of God, also claiming responsibility for the killing.
One report said a torn and blood-stained pamphlet found inside the bus claimed responsibility on behalf of the Islamic
State while another report said the attack was claimed by Jundullah.
Police said the assailants first opened fire on the bus just near the Dow Medical College and then entered the bus when it stopped at Safoora Chorangi, Gulistan-e-Johar area of Karachi.
The bus, belonging to Al-Azhar Garden Colony, an Ismaili community housing project, was on its way to a place of worship for Ismaili Shias when the gunmen boarded it in a relatively deserted area on the outskirts of Karachi.
Reports quoting police officials said the attackers shot passengers in the head and that over 60 empty shells were found at the scene.
Several people succumbed to their injuries while being taken to hospital. The condition of several of the wounded is said to be as critical.
"It was a targeted attack," Sindh police inspector general Ghulam Haider Jamali told reporters.
President Mamnoon Hussain and Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif have strongly condemned the terrorist act.
The attack comes a day after Sharif's Kabul visit where he said that enemies of Afghanistan are also enemies of Pakistan.
The director general of Pakistan's Inter-services Public Relations (ISPR) tweeted that Army Chief General Raheel Sharif had cancelled a pre-schedule three-day visit to Sri Lanka because of the attack.
Sindh chief minister Syed Qaim Ali Shah termed it a "terrorist attack" and said the culprits will be arrested and justice will be done.
He announced Rs500,000 compensation for the dead and free treatment for the injured.
Pakistan People's Party chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari and Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf chief Imran Khan also strongly condemned the attack.