Fighting in Pakistani city of Karachi claims 31 lives

Night_Hawk - Blogger
2 August 2011 Last updated at 08:38 ET
Fighting in Pakistani city of Karachi claims 31 lives


The Pakistani government appears helpless to stop the violence in Karachi

At least 31 people have been killed since Monday in the latest bout of ethnically fuelled violence in Pakistan's southern city of Karachi.
Officials said 11 people had so far been shot dead on Tuesday, while 20 were killed the previous day.
Targeted killings and clashes claimed more than 200 lives in Karachi in July.
Armed groups supported by Pakistan's main political parties are said to be responsible. Police officials say the groups are controlled by criminals.
But critics say that Pakistan's ruling coalition appears unwilling to bring them to account.
Interior Minister Rehman Malik said Karachi was enduring "a reign of terror and bloodshed", and that the government would pursue "every possible action to restore peace".
"We have ordered surveillance planes to be brought to Karachi for locating and weeding out the killers," he added.

Hospitals have been deluged with injured people

"I want to warn those... miscreants that... you have tested the government enough. Neither our people nor our government will tolerate any more of this. There will be strict action... I won't say anything else now. You will see the action yourself."
Provincial home department official Sharfuddin Memon told the AFP news agency on Tuesday that gunfire could still be heard in one of the city's worst-affected districts, Surjani, which is a stronghold of criminal gangs.
"The criminals want to destabilise the efforts for a permanent peace in the city," he said.
Police said dozens of motorcycles were set alight inside a factory, and that a roadside restaurant and several vehicles were also torched.
In a recent report, the independent Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) said 490 people had been killed in targeted killings in Karachi during the first half of the year, compared with 748 in 2010.
'Game of death and destruction' The BBC's Syed Shoiab Hasan in Karachi says that the killings are becoming increasingly indiscriminate.

[h=2]“Start Quote Karachi is in the grip of a multi-sided wave of insecurity-driven political, ethnic and sectarian polarisation”[/h] Human Rights Commission of Pakistan

Our correspondent says that it is not just political activists who are being targeted - shopkeepers, cafe owners, truck drivers and even pedestrians have all been gunned down.
Increasingly, he adds, there is an ethnic dimension to the violence - members of both the Pashtun and Urdu speaking communities have been targeted.
Shops and vehicles have been set ablaze and markets have been shut for several days in the affected areas.
Police officials say activists of the Pashtun-dominated Awami National Party (ANP) as well as those of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) - supported by the majority Urdu speaking community in the city - are responsible for much of the violence.
The parties have continued what is increasingly a battle for land and votes - despite being partners in the country's ruling coalition.
Our correspondent says that the government appears helpless to stop the violence, which has wreaked havoc.
Security officials say this is because senior politicians are protecting many of those involved in the killings.
They say Karachi will continue to burn until the security forces are allowed to arrest these men.
On Monday, the HRCP called for a political solution to the violence.
"Karachi is in the grip of a multi-sided wave of insecurity-driven political, ethnic and sectarian polarisation that has greatly undermined its tradition of tolerance and good-neighbourliness," it said.
"While gangs of land-grabbers and mafias have tried to exploit the breakdown of law and order, they do not appear to be the main directors of the horrible game of death and destruction; that distinction belongs to more powerful political groups and it is they who hold the key to peace."
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Night_Hawk - Blogger
Karachi: Report says 1,100 killed in first half of 2011

5 July 2011 Last updated at 12:47 ET Karachi: Report says 1,100 killed in first half of 2011


Police are struggling to keep violence in Karachi under control

More than 1,100 people have been shot dead in political violence in the Pakistani city of Karachi since the start of the year, campaigners say.
The Human Right Commission of Pakistan criticised city officials for failing to stop the targeted killings.

Much of the violence is associated with battles between rival criminal gangs.
But the chairman of the human rights commission also alleged that many of these armed gangs have the support of the city's main political parties.
As a result they are allowed to act with impunity, commission chairwoman Zohra Yusuf told a news conference.
The BBC's Shahzeb Jillani in Karachi says planned killings and drive-by shootings are now an almost daily occurrence in Karachi, the largest city and port in Pakistan and a major industrial and commercial centre.
Our correspondent says the city, which generates nearly half of Pakistan's total revenue, is plagued by extortion rackets, mafia-run land-grabs and turf wars waged by armed groups fighting for their share of resources.
Many fear that with last week's resignation from the government by the city's main political party - the MQM - increased violence and instability could bring Pakistan's economic capital to a grinding halt.

According to human rights organisations, 775 people died in political and sectarian shootings and bomb attacks in Karachi in 2010. The government put the figure lower, at about 500 people.