Koran

Doesn’t take much to set these people off.

QUETTA, Pakistan — Pakistani officials say an angry mob killed a man and wounded three others in the southwestern city of Quetta over the desecration of a Koran.

Balochistan’s provincial home secretary, Asad Gilani, says the violence began on December 11 after a man at Quetta’s Hazar Ganji fruit market found a crate of Iranian-grown pomegranates that were wrapped in pages torn from the Muslim holy book.

An angry mob quickly formed and began shouting slogans against Shi’a, who form a majority in Iran, and then marched to Quetta’s main market, Liaquat Bazar, in the city center trying to shut down shops.

Amid the chaos, a gunbattle broke out at Liaquat Bazar that left one dead and three injured.

RFE/RL’s correspondent in Quetta reports that hundreds of Sunni men from Ahl-e Sunnat Waljamaat, a conservative Islamist party, were on the streets of Quetta protesting and calling for government action.

That group claims that the fruit arrived from Iran already wrapped in the Koran pages.But police are also investigating the possibility of a provocation aimed at stirring up violence against Quetta’s ethnic Hazara Shi’ite community.

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