Karachi violence continues as death toll rises to 88


JNN 08 July 2011 KARACHI: Incidents of violence continued in Karachi on Friday as 18 people were killed in fresh incidents of firing, Dawn reported.

The violence ensued as firing continued in different parts of the city on Friday. The affected areas include Kharadar, Orangi Town and New Karachi where several people were shot dead and many wounded.

Also on Friday, a grenade attack reportedly occurred in Karachi’s BhimPura area, leaving three dead and many injured. The latest fatalities brought the total number of deaths in Karachi to 88 in the past four days.

Moreover, police arrested 133 individuals suspected of being involved in the current wave of violence. Police also recovered weapons and ammunition from the arrested suspects.

Gunfire reverberated in several neighbourhoods and thousands of people were stranded, short of food and too frightened to go out after three consecutive nights of violence in what is Pakistan’s biggest city and economic hub.

Anwer Kazmi, who works for Pakistan’s largest charity, the Edhi Foundation, said it was difficult to deliver food and water because of incessant gunfire.

“Seven of our ambulances have been fired on so far and one of our volunteers has been shot and injured,” he said.

Local residents in troubled neighbourhoods spoke of their fear, saying they were running out of supplies and could do little but cower at home.

“The walls of my house are riddled with bullets. Many of our household items have been destroyed. Most of time we duck inside the house to save ourselves from frequent volleys of bullets,” said Akber Khan from Orangi neighbourhood.

“We are so afraid. We haven’t slept for nights. One day I was on my balcony, when some bullets were fired at our house, Allah saved me. I haven’t been on the balcony since,” said third-grade student Shaista Ahmed, eight.

“Most people in our neighbourhood are short of food and water. Our children are hungry and thirsty,” fellow resident Mohammad Imran also told AFP.

“The authorities are making no efforts to save us from bullets and hunger. We tried to contact the government through the media but nothing is happening,” he said, as gunfire could be heard in the background down the telephone line.

Sharjeel Memon, Sindh’s information minister, said the government had ordered security forces to “shoot on sight” armed men involved in the attacks.

Interior Minister Rehman Malik said the government would deploy an extra 1,000 troops on the streets.

“We are bringing 1,000 more paramilitary troops to control the situation in Karachi,” Malik told reporters.

Malik called for “targeted action” against the killers, but said there would be no large-scale operation in the city of 18 million.

“We know which forces are behind these killings. We have satellite records of the areas where terrorists are killing innocent people,” said Malik.

“These militants are no lesser evil than the Taliban. They are killing people to destablise the democratic system”.

The US ambassador to Pakistan, Cameron Munter, issued a statement saying that the embassy was “deeply concerned about the escalating violence”.

“We call on all parties to refrain from further violence and work toward a peaceful resolution of differences,” he said.

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