12 killed, 16 injured as fresh violence erupts in Karachi

KARACHI - Bloody gunbattles between two rival groups in Landhi and Malir areas once again shattered the fragile peace of Karachi on Friday leaving 12 people dead and 16 others injured, police said.

By Rehan Siddiqui

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Published: Sun 24 Jul 2011, 12:15 AM

Last updated: Mon 6 Apr 2015, 10:13 PM

Eyewitnesses told newsmen that the firing started in Malir at 7am on Friday between the rival groups and spread to other adjoining localities forcing hapless residents to remain indoor fearing for their lives.

Intense firing from both groups continued for several hours and stopped only when huge contingents of Rangers and police were pressed into action and entered the troubled areas after more than five hours.

Area residents accused the authorities of failing to bring the situation under control and questioned why it took more than five hours before Rangers and policemen could enter the affected areas.

The firing in which sophisticated weapons were used by both the parties and even hand grenades were hurled forced total shutdown of the localities of Landhi, Malir and the surrounding areas.

Muttahida Quami Movement (MQM) leaders said that eight workers of the party were killed and accused the ruling Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) ministers of being behind the carnage.

On the other hand the breakaway Mohajir Quami Movement leader Khalid Naqshbandi claimed that four of the party workers were gunned down while returning home in Malir.

Ranger’s spokesman Major Bilal Farooq said that the Rangers operating in Sindh were under the command of the provincial government and can only act when asked for.

Government official Sharfuddin Memon said paramilitary troops are being deployed in Karachi. Karachi is a port city of 18 million that routinely witnesses more than 1,000 violent deaths a year.

It is Pakistan’s commercial heart, and the chaos here threatens to distract the government from its fight against Islamist militants.

Much of the recent violence in Karachi follows the decision by the city’s most powerful party, the Muttahida Qaumi Movement, to quit the federal ruling coalition. Authorities are investigating if political tensions fuelled Friday’s killings, too.

rehan@khaleejtimes.com

(With inputs from AP)



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