48 dead, 123 hurt in Karachi
PRESS TRUST OF INDIA
Karachi, Aug 3: Violence sparked by the murder of a MQM provincial legislator has left at least 48 people dead and over 100 injured in the southern Pakistani port city of Karachi, where life was affected today by a strike.
The violence began last night after motorcycle-borne unidentified gunmen shot dead Syed Raza Haider, a senior leader of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement and a member of the Sindh assembly, his bodyguard and a MQM worker, officials said. Haider had gone to a mosque to attend a funeral when he was attacked.
The killing infuriated Mohjahirs, who form the majority in this city, as they forced downing of shutters and attacked establishments belonging to the Pushtans. There were reports of gunfire erupting in parts of the city.
The violence continued in the city this morning too as protesters set on fire dozens of vehicles, petrol pumps, shops and houses as police and paramilitary forces struggled to gain control of the city.
Law enforcement personnel rounded up 50 suspects, including members of banned groups. Incidents of violence, including firing by armed groups and arson, claimed 48 lives and left over 123 injured, TV channels quoted police and hospital sources as saying.
Meanwhile, Haider was buried as thousands attended the funeral prayers of the slain MQM leader.
The violence affected several areas, including Baldia Town, Orangi Town, Gulistan-e-Johar, Landhi and Korangi.
Interior Minister Rehman Malik said Haider had received threats from the Sipah-e-Sahaba, a banned anti-Shia group.
He said the killing would be probed jointly by police and intelligence agencies.
“There have been regular firing incidents in different areas as supporters and activists of the MQM have reacted strongly to the assassination of their leader,” one police officer said.
Though large contingents of police and paramilitary Pakistan Rangers were deployed across Karachi today, the city wore a deserted look.
People preferred to remain indoors and traffic on the roads was thin. Most shops and commercial areas remained shut. No group has claimed responsibility for Haider’s killing.
Lastupdate on : Tue, 3 Aug 2010 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Tue, 3 Aug 2010 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Wed, 4 Aug 2010 00:00:00 IST
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