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Students riot at Pakistan funeral

A supporter of Tariq smashes a car window during the riot.
A supporter of Tariq smashes a car window during the riot.

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Unknown gunmen ambush the car carrying Tariq.
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ISLAMABAD, Pakistan (CNN) -- Hundreds of Islamic students have gone on the rampage in Islamabad after the funeral of slain Sunni Muslim politician Maulana Azam Tariq, smashing cars and torching buildings including a mosque and movie theater.

Tariq, a member of parliament and a former leader of the outlawed Sipah-e-Sahaba Pakistan (SSP) extremist group, was killed along with his driver and three bodyguards when unknown gunmen opened fire on their government car Monday after it stopped at a tollbooth at the entrance to Islamabad.

Pakistani officials fear the death of Tariq, 45, will inflame tensions between extremist Sunnis and Shiite Muslims after a wave of sectarian killings in recent months.

Police say at least five people were injured in Tuesday's rioting, after the prayer service for Tariq turned violent.

Pakistani paramilitary forces were called in to help restore order.

Thousands of supporters attended the prayer service during which SSP members vowed to further Tariq's struggle against the minority Shiites, Reuters reported.

Sunnis are the majority Muslim sect in Pakistan, and the group is blamed for the deaths of hundreds of Shiites, which make up around 15 percent of Pakistan's population of 149 million.

More violence was reported by police as Tariq's body was taken after the prayer service to the city of Jhang for burial, about 290 km (180 miles) southwest of Islamabad which has been the base for Tariq's political group

Shop owners were left to pick up the pieces after a mob destroyed their stores.
Shop owners were left to pick up the pieces after a mob destroyed their stores.

Paramilitary forces were again called in as a mob burned a second Shiite mosque.

SSP officials have blamed the government for failing to provide adequate protection for Tariq.

Pakistan's President Gen. Pervez Musharraf banned the SSP in January 2002.

One of the SSP's arms is a more radical militant group known as Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, which government authorities say is responsible for hundreds of sectarian killings.

The slaying of Tariq comes after an upsurge of religious bloodshed, which culminated in July when more than 50 worhsippers at a Shiite mosque in Quetta were killed by suspected Sunni gunmen.

-- CNN Islamabad bureau chief Ash-har Quraishi and producer Syed Mohsin Naqvi contributed to this report.


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