DERA ISMAIL KHAN – A Jamiat Ulema-e Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) leader was gunned down by unidentified men riding a motorbike early Saturday morning, police said.

Maulana Syed Ataullah Shah was on his way home from the mosque after leading Fajr prayers when the armed men opened fire on him. Shah died on the spot, Amjad Khan, a local police official said.

Police termed the killing ‘sectarian’ in nature and a FIR was registered against unidentified persons.

Shah, who was a khateeb, was also JUI-F leader Maulana Fazlur Rehman’s spiritual teacher. No one has claimed responsibility for the incident. However, police have launched a search operation against the criminals, the police added.

This is the fourth incident of target killing to have taken place in the district in the last one week.

The latest attack comes months after Abdul Ghafoor Haideri, deputy leader of Pakistan’s Senate, narrowly escaped death when Islamic State militants orchestrated a suicide attack in the country’s southwest, killing 28 people.