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Army called out in Karachi as situation remains extremely tense

Written by: Staff

Islamabad, April 13 (UNI) The government in Pakistan's Sindh province today called army hours ahead of the scheduled funerals of Jamat Ahl-e-Sunnat (JAS) leaders, killed in a suspected suicide bomb attack in Karachi Tuesday, which killed at least 57 people and injured over hundreds.

As the situation in the port city remains extremely tense with incidents of burning public and private transport by angry mobs reported in different areas, the six-party religious alliance, Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal (MMA) issued a white paper in Islamabad on the government's failure to check incidents of terror in Karachi in last two years.

According to an army spokesman, the army is patrolling sensitive areas to assist the civil administration in case of any emergency.

Three top JAS leaders are to be buried after ''Maghrib'' prayers in Karachi hours after the religious grouping gave a 48-hour deadline to the government to track down culprits and execute them publicly.

Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz visited Karachi last night and met intelligence officials for a briefing on their initial findings about the attack, which took place while hundreds of people were preparing to say evening prayers during a gathering held to celebrate the birth anniversary of Prophet Muhammad.

Mr Aziz met President Pervez Musharraf this morning and briefed him on his discussions with officials in Karachi.

''A judicial inquiry has already been ordered to probe the incident and its report will be made public,'' Mr Aziz told reporters in Karachi after the meeting.

Meanwhile, officials have found two heads from the site of the blast, which they suspected were of the suicide bombers, who had blown themselves up Tuesday evening.

The body parts were being shifted to Islamabad for identification at the country's only DNA-test laboratory that was set up last month with the Chinese assistance.

Businesses remained partially closed and most public transports were off the road today in Karachi and Lahore. The JAS also called a countrywide strike tomorrow to condemn the killings.

The regional government of Sindh has already announced a three-day mourning with all educational institutions to remain closed during the period.

Tuesday's blast was the second major deadly incident in Karachi in the past four days.

At least 30 women and children were killed and nearly 50 were wounded on Sunday in a stampede at a religious assembly, also held to mark the birth anniversary of Prophet Muhammad.


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