Karachi: Hundreds of Shias turned out for the funeral of a prominent scholar whose murder sparked off a bout of violence in which 17 people have been killed in the last 24 hours in Pakistan`s largest city.
Shouting slogans against the government and law enforcement agencies and beating their chests, the mourners marched through the city in the funeral procession of Majlis-e-Wahdat-e-Muslimeen (MWM) leader Maulana Deedar Ali Jalbani.
Jalbani and his bodyguard were shot dead in a targeted killing near NED university yesterday morning, the latest casualty in a spate of sectarian killings that has hit the city in recent times.
Shia leaders at the procession demanded the government arrest Jalbani`s killers and warned of reprisals.
Many prominent Shia and Sunni religious leaders, clerics, doctors and citizens have been shot dead in targeted killings in the port city this year.
An MWM spokesman said that there was need to conduct an unbiased cleanup operation in Karachi and to take action against extremist outfits.
Jalbani`s killing sparked off a bout of violence in the city since yesterday with two killings today taking the death toll to 17.
Those killed included five suspected activists of the Tehreek-e-Taliban near Sakhi Hasan roundabout and two foreign students from Morocco, yesterday.
The MWM spokesman told reporters that if the killers of Jalbani were not arrested until tonight then the party would announce its plans which he warned would not be good for the government.
Shias make up around 20 per cent of Pakistan`s population, which is largely Sunni.
The spate of killings resulted in many schools, offices and markets remaining closed today with public transport also thin on the roads.
Commercial activities were also curtailed as people preferred to stay indoors fearing more violence.
Karachi, Pakistan`s economic hub, has long been wracked by political, ethnic and sectarian unrest.