Six Shias, including four teachers and two lower staff, were killed in a shooting at a school in Kurram tribal district on Thursday, in what appeared to be retaliation for an attack shortly before in which a Sunni teacher was shot dead, officials said. Both incidents occurred in the Parachinar area of Kurram near the border with Afghanistan, they said. The area is off limits to journalists, which makes it difficult to verify facts independently. Contradictory accounts were given by regional authorities about the motive for the killings. A statement from the provincial chief minister’s office said it involved a property dispute, but the regional commissioner said sectarian antagonism appeared to be the cause. The teacher killed in the first incident was a Sunni while those shot in the second attack at the school were Shias, the deputy commissioner, Saiful Islam, told Reuters. “It is not clear whether the second incident was a reaction to the first one,” he said, adding security has been heightened in an area already tense due to sectarian violence. Local police said they were gathering more information as they investigated the incidents. District Police Officer Muhammad Imran told RFE/RL that both incidents took place on in the Kurram district of the province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. The first shooting occurred around 1 p.m. local time when unknown assailants attacked a vehicle, killing one person. The incident enraged people in the area, and they entered a school in which they believed people belonging to opposing sectarian groups were working as teachers. They opened fire, killing six people including four teachers, Imran said, adding that the people killed in the school were residents of different areas of Kurram. The teacher, named Mohammad Sharif, who was killed inside the car also belonged to the same school, said the police. The teacher was shot while he was travelling on Shalozan Road. Based on preliminary information, both incidents are due to sectarian disputes between tribes over land and forests, but Imran said that the investigation is ongoing. The situation is under control, he said. Rescue 1122 official Syed Ghayyur Hussain told said bodies of the school shooting victims were taken to district headquarters hospital, Parachinar. DPO Imran told the media that measures were being taken and negotiations being carried out with tribal leaders to bring the situation back to normalcy after the attacks. He said the Kohat division deputy inspector general of police and commissioner had reached Parachinar after the incidents, adding that security had been beefed up and routes blocked in the area. The official said a probe into the incidents was under way. Earlier, Zahid Hussain, a representative of the Teacher Union, said they had decided to keep schools in the area closed until the culprits were caught. Staging a protest outside the Parachinar Press Club, he urged teachers across KP to close schools from Friday.Pakistan Television Corporation reported that Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif condemned the incidents and had sought a detailed report from relevant authorities on the attacks. Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah said in a tweet that he, too, had sought a report from the interior secretary and assured that the perpetrators would be punished. Meanwhile, a statement issued by the office of KP caretaker Chief Minister Azam Khan attributed the killings to a property dispute. The statement said the CM had taken notice of the matter and sought a report on the incidents from police and the relevant administration. It carried his instructions to take immediate measures for the arrest of those involved in the incidents. “Nobody will be allowed to take the law into their hands. Those sabotaging peace in the area will be dealt with iron hands,” the CM said, vowing that the perpetrators of today’s incidents would be taken to task. The statement said he issued directives for taking all the needed measures for ensuring peace in the area and the provision of timely treatment for the injured. It added that the CM expressed grief over the loss of lives, terming the firing incidents “very unfortunate and condemnable” and extended condolences to the heirs of the victims. President Arif Alvi condemned the attacks, grieving the killing of “on-duty teachers”. “The attack on teachers by the enemies of knowledge is condemnable,” a statement on Twitter quoted him as saying. The president said he hoped that the “suspects will be arrested soon and punished according to the law”. He offered prayers for the slain individuals and extended condolences to their heirs. In his condemnation, Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari also demanded punishment for those behind the attacks and an “immediate and complete investigation of the matter by police and the administration”. A statement on the PPP’s Twitter quoted him as saying that such incidents could not be tolerated at any cost and that their prevention should be ensured. Another statement on the PPP’s official Twitter said the party’s co-chairperson and former president, Asif Ali Zardari, had termed the “killing of on-duty teachers” an act of “terrorism”. The statement quoted him as saying that the perpetrators of the attack should be taken to task. He offered prayers for the deceased and extended condolences to the bereaved.