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Political-ethnic violence rages in Karachi: 22 killed

Karachi: Political violence flared up in Pakistan`s largest city of Karachi with 22 people losing their lives in target killings and 30 others being injured, as tension escalated between the ruling PPP and its estranged ally the MQM.

Police and rescue officials said that 22 people had been killed in target killings and related incidents in different parts of the city over the last 36 hours.

The escalation of violence came a week after the Mutthaida-e-Qaumi Movement broke ranks with the Pakistan Peoples Party-led government and opted to sit in opposition.

MQM leader, Altaf Hussain delivered a stark warning from London, saying if his party workers continue to be targetted, strike calls would be given until the government was brought down.

In tragic developments highlighting the growing ethnic division between the Urdu-speaking MQM and Pashtun speaking Awami National Party, a number of bodies were recovered since yesterday.

Five bullet-ridden bodies were found dumped in a mini bus in the Gulshan-e-Iqbal area. Another body, also having bullet wounds, was recovered from the Khadda market area. The bodies are yet to be identified.

Among the 22 victims were 11 people, who were gunned down in Orangi while one in Shershah, and two others in Baldia and Korangi areas of the city.

Orangi has been the worst-hit by violence where over a dozen people were also injured.

The government has banned pillion riding on motorcycles to curb the latest trend of drive by shootings.

The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan said yesterday that at least 32 people had died in just three days in Karachi as a result of the fighting between the ANP, part of the coalition government, and MQM that represents the Urdu speaking refugees from India.

"June was the most dangerous month in Karachi," said HRCP chairperson, Zohra Yusuf, at a media briefing.

She said of the 1,138 people who died this year, 490 were targeted.

The MQM sustained the highest casualties with 77 of its activists killed. While ANP lost 29 men, the PPP lost 26.

She said among those targeted and killed, 250 were not affiliated with political parties, 184 were political activists and 19 were members of religious parties.

Fifty-six of the killings were based on ethnicity.

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