Sectarian strife has been worsening in Pakistan, whereShi'ite Muslims make up about 20 percent of the 180 millionpopulation.
Maulana Shamsur Rehman, the Punjab leader of Ahle Sunnat WalJama (ASWJ), was shot while leaving a mosque, said Mahmmed Rafiqfrom Shafiqabad police station.
Rehman's group was formed by members of the bannedorganisation Sipah-e-Sahaba, which had repeatedly said it wantedto expel Shi'ites from Pakistan.
ASWJ leader Maulana Ahmed Ludhianvi said in a tweet that thekilling of Rehman was part of a "big plot" and that "thesituation is now getting out of control." Another party officialtweeted that "party workers should be ready to protestcountrywide."