16 killed in Karachi violence

Karachi violence
Karachi, Jul 24: At least 16 people were killed and dozens other injured today in the raging political-ethnic conflict in Pakistan's financial hub, as an uneasy calm prevailed in the port city where peace has refused to return.

Police and rescue officials said 16 deaths were reported during the day from different areas of the city in shootings and arson attacks while television channels reported that 21 people had been killed.

"Three people were killed in a drive-by shooting in Karimabad late Sunday while eating at a restaurant while another three were shot dead in the new Karachi area," one police official confirmed.

The Sindh Home Department late night imposed an indefinite ban on pillion riding in the city just a week after lifting it.

Provincial information minister Sharjeel Memon said the government was forced to take this step in a bid to control the situation.

"We know it causes lot of inconvenience to the people but this measure is only for a few days until the situation improves," Memon said.

The death toll from shootings, target killings and arson attacks in the last three days has again jumped to around 40 taking the toll in the month of July to around 200.

Malir claimed that in some instances unidentified assailants had even fired rocket propelled grenades at some houses.

"A man was shot dead in front of our house he lay there in pain for three hours we couldn't venture out because of the firing and there was no rescue or police team to help him out on time," a resident said.

In the Jaffer Tayar locality of Malir, unknown persons resorted to firing and stoning when the burial ceremony of lawyer Mukhtar Abbas was being held.

Abbas, father of five, was also shot dead on the spot by gunmen outside the Civil Hospital in the old city area late last night.

The Awami National Party which represents the Pashtun speaking population and also blamed for the violence has been demanding that the control of Karachi be handed over to the Army to control the violence and killings.

But Inspector General of police Wajid Durrani said there was no need for this.

Speaking at a gathering, Durrani said the situation in Karachi was under control and army intervention was not required. He said extremists were using names of political parties and disrupting peace in the city.

Responding to a question about the Taliban presence in Katti Pahari, Durrani claimed that land grabbers were the real cause of the problem.

"These land grabbers are targeting the Urdu- and Pashto-speaking populations. They want to ignite a fire that will lead to war," he said.

"The police has identified these men and they will not be spared." The IG said operational power of the police will increase when grants and increments worth a total of Rs 5 billion will be given to the force.


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