Unknown gunmen have shot dead a Hindu man in a southern Pakistani town, police said, after a burnt Koran prompted days of religious tension in the area.

Police were patrolling the streets in Ghotki, around 420 kilometres (250 miles) north of Karachi in Sindh province, in an effort to halt any potential unrest, authorities said Thursday.

“Unknown gunmen yesterday (Wednesday) shot dead an 18-year-old Hindu boy and wounded another,” senior police official Masood Bangash told AFP.

b’Representational image | Source: Reuters’

Bangash said another Hindu man was arrested in the town four days earlier after burnt copies of Islam’s holy book were found at the local mosque.

Pakistan has extremely strict laws against blasphemy, including the death penalty for insulting the Prophet Mohammed. Even unfounded rumours can stir mob lynchings and violence.

“So far no arrests have been made in connection with the shooting and it is too early to link the killing of Hindu man with the Koran burning incident,” he added.

Bangash said that after several days of tension markets have reopened and city life had returned to normal, but police were patrolling in the area.

Pakistan is rife with violence against religious minorities, with the Taliban and other militant groups regularly targeting Christian, Sikhs, Hindus, Ahmadi and Shiite communities in the country.