Unidentified gunmen shot dead a Shiite Muslim judge along with his driver and police bodyguard in southwestern Pakistan on Thursday in a suspected sectarian attack, police said. The incident took place in Quetta, the capital of the oil and gas rich province of Baluchistan, as Zulfiqar Naqvi was travelling to his office. “Gunmen were waiting for him at a railway crossing, the moment the car slowed down, the assailants sprayed bullets and fled,” senior police officer Wazir Khan Nasir told reporters. “The target of the attack was the judge and it appeared to be a sectarian incident.” Khalid Mazoor, another senior police officer, confirmed the killings and added the gunmen were riding a motorbike. There was no claim of responsibility for the attack but Baluchistan, which borders Iran and Afghanistan, has been a flashpoint for violence between majority Sunnis and Shiites, who make up around 20 per cent of the population. Sectarian conflict has left thousands of people dead since the late 1980s, and the province also suffers Taliban attacks and a separatist insurgency. Baluch rebels rose up in 2004, demanding political autonomy and a greater share of profits from the region’s oil, gas and mineral resources. Bomb blasts and attacks on police and security forces are frequent in the province, which is one of the most deprived areas of Pakistan.