Karachi's ethnic, political violence kills 70 in three days

Reuters News
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Posted: Jul 08, 2011 2:13 AM
Karachi's ethnic, political violence kills 70 in three days

By Faisal Aziz

KARACHI (Reuters) - Pakistani police and paramilitary troops were ordered on Friday to shoot on sight in its largest city Karachi after 70 people were killed in three days of ethnic and political violence.

Shops and fuel stations were shut and public transport idled after the city's dominant political party, the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM), announced a day of mourning against the latest surge in violence in the country's financial and commercial hub.

"We have issued orders to the security forces to shoot anyone involved in violence on the spot," Sharjeel Memon, the provincial information minister, told Reuters.

"In addition to the police and Rangers, another 1,000 personnel of the Frontier Constabulary will be deployed in the city to control the violence," he said, referring to another paramilitary force.

Memon said 70 people have been killed in the city over the past three days, and dozens injured.

"Thirty-seven people were killed yesterday alone," he said.

Karachi, home to more than 18 million people, has a long history of ethnic, religious and sectarian violence.

It was a main target of al Qaeda-linked militants after the September 11, 2001, attacks on the United States, when Pakistan joined the U.S.-led campaign against militancy, and foreigners were attacked in the city several times.

(Editing by Chris Allbritton and Daniel Magnowski)