62 dead, 128 injured in Karachi violence

By Awais Saleem, IANS,

Karachi : At least 62 people have died and 128 have been injured as angry mobs stalked the streets of Pakistan’s largest and most volatile city in unchecked violence after Monday’s killing of a MQM legislator.

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Muttahid Qaumi Movement (MQM) leader and member of the Sindh provincial assembly, Raza Haider, was shot dead in Nazimabad area where he had gone to attend a funeral.

As the news spread, mobs torched more than 50 vehicles including buses and trucks and set several shops and fuel stations on fire.

Ethnic violence and target killing has claimed more than 1500 lives in the city over the last two years.

The port city roads wore a deserted look for the second day running Wednesday as people were hesitant to step out. Although educational institutions and some offices opened, attendance was thin.

Early Wednesday, unknown assailants killed four people in Altaf Town of the Korangi area after confirming their identity. The attackers were accompanied by a man for identification purpose, DawnNews reported quoting sources.

Aerial firing was reported from many areas throughout the last night, triggering panic among people. Shootouts between groups of political parties also reported.

More than 80 people were picked up by law enforcement agencies.

Federal Urdu University cancelled the scheduled examination while the absence of public transport made it difficult to commute.

Firing and violence was also reported from Hyderabad, Sukhur, Mirpur Khas and other areas of interior Sindh. More than 100 suspects have been taken in custody by law enforcement agencies from restive areas on various charges.

Interior Minister Rehman Malik had said that banned outfits like Sipah-i-Sahaba and Tehreek-i-Taliban were involved in the incident.

MQM leadership has blamed Awami National Party responsible for the murder. However, the charges have been categorically denied by the ANP leadership.