Toll from Pak political violence leaps to near 50



Toll from Pak political violence leaps to near 50 Karachi: At least thirty one people were killed and 25 others injured in Pakistan's commercial capital which has again been rocked by a fresh bout of target killings and violence, police said on Tuesday.

The spate of target killings continued unabated yesterday with 12 people gunned down in the city's biggest junk market for car spare parts.

The incident led to more violence and fresh incidents of target killings in different parts of the city forcing a senior leader of the ruling Pakistan People's Party (PPP), Nabil Gabol to even demand that the army be called in to control law and order situation.

The killings increased the death toll over 55 since Saturday night here in the ethnic political clashes mainly between Pashtuns from northwest and Urdu-speaking Mohajirs.

A meeting of the core committee of the ruling party in Islamabad saw President Asif Zardari issuing directives to the interior minister and law enforcement agencies to put an end to the spate of target killings.

Around 31 people were killed in different firing incidents including the attack in the Kabari market in Shershah area since yesterday, police and rescue officials said.

Twelve people were killed when motorcycle-borne unidentified masked gunmen opened indiscriminate firing in the market in the crowded Shershah area last evening, police said.

"Several people have been wounded in the firing," Senior Superintendent of Police, Naveed Cheema said.

As the news of the incident spread tension and fear gripped the city with more incidents of random and targeted firing reported from other parts of Karachi.

A wave of violence that followed the August killing of Mutthaida Qaumi Movement (MQM) provincial lawmaker Raza Haider claimed 85 lives.

The MQM, which is the main party here, is a partner in the ruling coalition led by the PPP in Sindh province.

Violence has escalated in the city since Saturday with the MQM blaming elements of a peace committee set up by the ruling PPP with the Awami National Party for the target killings.

PTI