Peshawar: Two gunmen in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar shot dead a policeman standing guard outside a Hindu temple on Sunday, officials said, later fleeing the scene on a motorcycle.

The attack, which occurred in the downtown Jhanda Bazar area, was the latest target connected to Pakistan’s minorities who make up some two per cent of the country’s population of 180 million.

“It appears to be a militant attack. The gunmen killed the lone policeman on duty outside the Hindu temple and then escaped,” Faisal Mukhtar, a senior police official, told AFP.

Hindus are thought to number a few thousand in Peshawar, Pakistan’s frontline city in its battle against Al Qaida and Taliban militants, though the community is rarely targeted.

In November last year, a policeman standing guard outside a Pentecostal church in Peshawar was also shot dead by unknown gunmen.

In September, devastating double suicide attacks at the historic All Saints church in the main city area of Peshawar left 82 people dead.

Pakistan is rife with violence against religious minorities as Al Qaida and Taliban-led militants regularly target Christian, Sikhs, Hindus, Ahmadi and Shiite communities in the country.