Six people gunned down in sectarian violence in Karachi

At least six people were gunned down in Pakistan`s financial capital today despite stepped up security to combat sectarian and political killings that has plagued the country`s largest city in the last few weeks.

Last Updated: Jan 20, 2011, 23:32 PM IST

Karachi: At least six people were gunned
down in Pakistan`s financial capital today despite stepped up
security to combat sectarian and political killings that has
plagued the country`s largest city in the last few weeks.

Six more people were gunned down today in different
areas of Sindh`s provincial capital Karachi as clear
differences emerged in the ruling Pakistan Peoples Party over
how to deal with crimes, violence and target killings in the
biggest city of the country and its financial hub.

The killings came despite the government giving
additional search and arrest powers to the para-military
rangers in a bid to crackdown on criminals.

The shootings were reported in Orangi town, Lyari,
Manghopir, Aslam Barohi Colony and Sohrab Goth today with the
rangers called in to administer matters of security in the
city.

Since last week, around 35 people have been killed in
target killings blamed mostly on sectarian and political
violence, forcing Interior Minister Rehman Malik to camp in
the city.

Pakistan`s financial hub has been in the grip of
political violence between the activists of the Muttahida
Qaumi Movement (MQM) and the Awami National Party (ANP).

More thatn 500 suspected criminals were arrested
earlier this week following the stepped up security in the
city to combat sectarian and political killings.

A provincial level All Parties Conference (APC) is
also planned in Karachi next week to discuss the law and order
situation.

The decision to hold the APC was taken during a
high-level meeting attended by Malik, Chief Minister Qaim Ali
Shah and Home minister Zulfiqar Mirza.

After the meeting, Rehman Malik who is in Karachi to
supervise the situation, said police and rangers will be
coordinating with the Sindh Home Department to implement
measures to combat violence in the Sindh province.

Malik also made it clear he had no intent of
interfering in administrative affairs of the province and was
in Karachi on the instructions of the President and Prime
Minister who were concerned with the spate of violence and
killings in the city.

Malik?s statement came after the provincial home
minister, Zulfiqar Mirza condemned the rangers search
operation in Faqir colony in Orangi town on Tuesday and
arrested 500 suspects.

Mirza caused a stir by stating he was not taken into
confidence about the search operation.

Mirza?s strong comments came during a session of the
Sindh Assembly today in which he stated that a democratically
elected government is operational in Pakistan, and the country
is not under marshal law.

Sindh Home Minister said he has given the authority to
Rangers and can strip them of their powers if he wants to.
He said the federal government might have ordered the
operation directly.

It is no secret that the main party in the city, the
Mutthaida Qaumi Movement, does not get along with Mirza and
have exchanged barbs in public over the issues of extortion
and target killings in the city.

PTI