11 people killed in Karachi violence

Karachi: At least 11 people were killed and over 30 injured here today when unidentified gunmen opened fire at a rally that was organised to oppose the movement to create a new "Mohajir" province. The gunmen opened fire at the "Mohabbat Sindh" rally organised by the Awami Tehrik and the banned People`s Amn Committee when it reached the old quarters of Karachi, TV news channels reported.

Officials at hospitals said they had received 11 bodies and over 30 injured. A woman was among the dead while a reporter and a cameraman of a TV news channel were among the injured. The condition of several of the injured was described as serious. Dozens of shops and vehicles were set on fire during the violence. DIG Shaukat Ali Shah said a search operation was underway in areas where the rally was attacked and the situation was under control.

Violence was reported from Lee Market, Pan Mandi and Bolton Market. Additional policemen and paramilitary Pakistan Rangers personnel were deployed to control the violence. Roads leading to the Sindh Governor`s House and Chief Minister`s House were closed with containers before the rally. The Awami Tehrik and the People`s Amn Committee decided to organise the rally from Cheel Chowk at Lyari to Karachi Press Club to oppose recent calls for the creation of a new province for `mohajirs` or Urdu-speaking migrants who came to Pakistan at the time of Partition.

Awami Tehrik president Ayaz Palijo claimed police left areas where firing was reported. He warned that every drop of blood shed during today`s violence would be avenged "not from innocent Urdu-speaking people but from terrorists". This was the latest spell of violence in Karachi, where hundreds have died to ethnic and political unrest over the past few years.