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Bloodshed goes on unabated in Karachi

August 02, 2011 15:15 IST

Violence escalated further in Karachi, Pakistan's biggest city, where 34 people were killed in political and ethnic violence over the last 24 hours, and MQM leader Altaf Hussain gave an ultimatum to the country's leadership to put an end to the bloodbath.

As mayhem continued in the financial hub, reports said nearly 60 people have been killed since Friday in the city that has been in the grip of violence for the past few months.

Thirty-four people lost their lives over the last 24 hours in the ongoing wave of target killings, including five in overnight shooting incidents, a report in the Express Tribune said.

The worst hit was Surjani Town where unidentified gunmen set on fire few houses, shops and resorted to indiscriminate firing in which two persons were killed and several injured.

Police said violence quickly spread to other areas and as many as 20 people were killed in incidents of violence in Orangi, Surjani Town, Pak Colony, Landhi, Gulshan-e-Iqbal, Korangi and other areas.

In another incident, men armed with sophisticated weapons, attacked a factory with more than 1500 factory workers trapped inside. They also torched motorbikes while firing constantly.

Security forces, who reached the site almost an hour after the attack could take complete control of the area after an hour.

Four other people were also shot dead in four separate incidents of the attacks in the city.

In a statement from London, MQM chief Hussain said he was setting a 48-hour deadline before the government, threatening strong public retaliation if the situation was not brought under control.

"People would take on the task of defending their lives and belongings by taking the law into their own hands," Hussain said.

He warned President Asif Ali Zardari and Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani, that the government would be the sole responsible for repercussions if peace was not restored.

Rattled by the never-ending cycle of violence, residents of a colony took to the streets, chanting slogans and torching vehicles on the way.

MQM lawmaker Wasim Ahmed also accused elements backed by the Sindh government of trying to take over his party's stronghold.

"We won't let anybody take over Karachi," Ahmed told the National Assembly  on Monday.

Provincial Interior Minister Manzoor Wasan held a meeting with leaders of the leading political parties, including Mutthaida Qaumi Movement and Awami National Party, following which he promised that peace would return in two months time.

"The fact is there are criminal elements who have infiltrated into political parties and are causing this violence. All parties have to cooperate with the government in rooting out such elements. I assure you peace can be restored totally to Karachi in two months time," the minister said.

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