46 killed in Karachi violence after politician’s murder


Islamabad : Unrest broke out in Pakistan’s southern port city of Karachi after the murder of a regional legislator, leaving 46 people dead and 120 injured, police said Tuesday.

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Lawmaker Raza Haider and his bodyguard were shot to death outside a mosque late Monday. As word spread of the killings, his supporters erected barricades in the street, and cars, restaurants and other businesses were set on fire.

Police surgeon Hamid Paryar said that the 46 dead and 120 injured had been moved to various hospitals. Most of the wounded had gunshot wounds.

Karachi has a long history of ethnic violence, mainly between the Urdu-speaking population that migrated from India following Pakistan’s creation in 1947, and Pashtu-speaking people who hail from the north-western province of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa.

Haider was a member of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement, which represents the Urdu-speaking population. Its leadership blamed the Awami National Party, a Pashtun-based political organisation, for Haider’s murder.

Karachi police chief Waseem Ahmad said that 20 people, including a leader of a banned Islamic militant organization, had been arrested.

Prime Minister Yousu Raza Gilani condemned the assassination and called upon the leaders of all parties to show maturity and keep their supporters calm to help the process of investigation, state-run newswire APP reported.

Authorities deployed paramilitary troops in sensitive areas of Karachi, as businesses and education institutions remained closed and much of the traffic stayed off the streets.