Thursday, August 4, 2011

Pakistan ethnic violence kills 58

Pakistani firefighters extinguish burning vehicles in the troubled area of Karachi on August 1, 2011

Source: Press TV

Dozens of people have been killed in political and ethnic clashes in Pakistan's largest city of Karachi over the past five days.

At least 58 people lost their lives in the recent spate of violence, forcing the government to deploy hundreds of extra paramilitary soldiers to restore order, The Daily Telegraph reported on Wednesday.

"We have deployed troops in most of the troubled areas, and will take strong action if we see any trouble. We also conducted an operation last night, where we cordoned off some of the troubled areas and detained some suspects." an official from the paramilitary Rangers said.

Several people were arrested in overnight operations and security forces set up checkpoints and increased spot checks in violence-hit areas.

Over 1,130 people have been killed in Karachi, the capital of Sindh province, in the first half of 2011, some 490 of those deaths connected to ethnic and political unrest, according to the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan.

President Asif Ali Zardari summoned Sindh Chief Minister Syed Qaim Ali Shah to Islamabad on Wednesday to discuss security in Karachi.

The provincial government has offered 10 million rupees (£70,000) to anyone with information about perpetrators of recent chaos.

July was one of the deadliest months in almost two decades with more than 300 people killed in ethnic and political violence in Karachi, officials said.

Years of rivalry between political parties of Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) and the Awami National Party (ANP) has worsened security situation in Pakistan's economic cornerstone that is already struggling with militancy.

The MQM mostly represents Urdu-speaking people who travelled to Pakistan from India after separation of the countries in 1947, while the ANP represents the Pashto speakers, more of whom are immigrating to Karachi from the Pakistan's northwest to find jobs.

MQM quit the coalition government last month.

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