INTERNATIONAL

Fresh Karachi violence kills 35

Nearly 35 people are feared killed in Karachi in a fresh bout of violence which is being described as gang wars by the police.

On Wednesday night, violence revisited the city, where more than 300 people were killed last month in political/ethnic rivalry, after the reported recovery of five bodies of Lyari residents in gunny bags from various parts of the metropolis.

In the violence that broke out after a fortnight of sporadic killings, a former member of the National Assembly from the Pakistan People's Party, Waja Karimdad, was gunned down and a dozen people killed in street warfare which saw the use of guns, hand grenades and rockets. Mr. Karimdad was sitting outside a café before Iftar and was sprayed with bullets by men on a motor-cycle. The police attribute his killing to gang rivalry in what is essentially a PPP stronghold.

Lyari is the area from where President Asif Ali Zardari proposes to launch his son Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari into national politics. The violence escalated on Thursday and most parts of Karachi had to shut down because of its scale and hospitals tried to grapple with the number of injured. Through the day, different parts of the city erupted with the sound of gunfire and grenade bursts forcing people to remain indoors amid reports of residents getting caught in the crossfire. Among the dead were women and children, including a 11-year-old. Many of those killed were apparently first kidnapped and tortured. The latest spurt of violence began amid reports of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) returning to the PPP-led coalition both in Sindh and at the federal level a month-and-a-half after it walked out of the alliance for the second time this year. MQM chief Altaf Hussain spoke to Prime Minister Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani on telephone from his London base and described the violence as “genocide”. Both parties were of the view that the latest violence was being instigated by forces who do not want them to come together.

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