Three killed in latest Karachi violence

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Three people were killed across Karachi in the latest spate of violence in the country’s financial capital, as the Sindh government’s coalition, the PPP, MQM and ANP, on Tuesday decided to launch indiscriminate action against lawbreakers across the province.
The decision was made in a meeting held at the Governor’s House jointly chaired by Sindh Governor Ishratul Ebad, Sindh Chief Minister Syed Qaim Ali Shah and Interior Minister Rehman Malik. The meeting also took cognisance of the need of keeping close contacts among partners and leaders and agreed to reactivate the coordination committee. The participants agreed that all efforts be undertaken to ensure law and order in the economic hub of the country and those involved in criminals be brought to book without any consideration of their political affiliations.
The ANP expressed reservations over conducting operations at their offices, including Bacha Khan Markaz. Talking to reporters, Ebad thanked Qaim and Malik for their efforts to bring all parties at one table to resolve the issues. Some forces were trying to reap benefits of law and order and “it is our duty to foil such nefarious designs”, he added. Malik said President Asif Ali Zardari ordered stern action against criminals and added that action would be indiscriminate as the three parties had the same stance against criminals.
The Sindh government also cancelled dozens of arms licenses and permits after a number of incidents of terrorism in Karachi. In the light of interior minister’s directives, the provincial government cancelled arms licenses and permits on a temporary basis.
Also on Tuesday, Karachi police claimed to have arrested four target killers and recovered arms and ammunition from them in SITE area of the city. The culprits were involved in the murder of at least eight people, including two police officials. Meanwhile, the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) said ethnic, sectarian and politically-linked violence in the country’s financial capital had killed at least 300 people so far this year.
Parts of the Arabian Sea port city have become battlegrounds in the last week, with authorities unable to prevent spiralling violence blamed on activists from political parties representing competing ethnic groups.
“About 300 people have been the victims of violent shootings in the last three months,” Zohra Yusuf, chairwoman of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP), told AFP. The HRCP previously said 1,715 people were killed last year in sudden flare-ups of violence in the city, which is Pakistan’s most populous.
“The figures compiled by our staff and the death toll for the last three months confirmed by the police shows the number of victims of violence was not less than 300,” Yusuf said. Much of the violence has been blamed on tensions between supporters of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM), rooted in the Urdu-speaking majority, and the Awami National Party (ANP), which represents ethnic Pashtun migrants.