Thu Feb 27, 2014 9:58PM
Pakistanis stage a massive protest rally against killings of Shia Muslims. (file photo)
Pakistanis stage a massive protest rally against killings of Shia Muslims. (file photo)

Heavily-armed gunmen have shot and killed a prominent Shia leader in the southern Pakistani port city of Karachi.

According to local security officials, violence broke out in the Nazimabad area of Karachi when gunmen sprayed Allama Taqi Hadi Naqvi with bullets on Thursday.

"He was riding in an auto rickshaw when two riders on a motorcycle shot him," media outlets quoted a senior regional police officer as saying.

Hadi reportedly succumbed to his wounds while being transferred to a nearby hospital in the volatile city.

Security sources said the attackers managed to flee the scene before policemen cordoned off the area.

No group or person has yet claimed responsibility for the attack, but pro-Taliban militant groups are often blamed for such attacks.

Following the incident, protesters took to the streets across Karachi and some other major cities to denounce the ongoing violence against Shia Muslims across the militancy-riddled country.

Several Shia religious gatherings have been targeted in different parts of the country over the past few months.

Most of the attacks are carried out by extremists, many of whom affiliated with the terrorist group Lashkar-e-Jhangvi.

Militants have carried out numerous attacks against security forces and civilians, and managed to spread their influence in various regions of the country, despite frequent offensives by the Pakistani army.

The militants groups want to overthrow the state institutions and impose Wahhabi laws across the country.

Pakistan has been gripped by deadly violence since 2001, when Islamabad entered an alliance with the United States in the so-called war on terror.