Violence in Pakistan's Karachi kill nearly 50

Jul 7 2011 - 5:32pm

Images

People comfort a man as he mourns the death of a family member who was shot dead in Karachi, Pakistan Thursday, July 7, 2011. Gunmen shot up a bus and opened fire in several neighborhoods of Pakistan's largest city on Thursday, the latest in a spate of violence that has killed at least 49 people in three days, officials said. (AP Photo/Fareed Khan)
A Pakistani boy comforts a man, left, whose brother was shot dead in Karachi, Pakistan Thursday, July 7, 2011. Gunmen shot up a bus and opened fire in several neighborhoods of Pakistan's largest city on Thursday, the latest in a spate of violence that has killed at least 49 people in three days, officials said. (AP Photo/Fareed Khan)
Members of Pakistani security forces stand near a dead body of an alleged militant killed during an encounter, in Nusrat Dara in Upper Dir, Pakistan on Wednesday, July 6, 2011. Hundreds of militants crossed into Pakistan from Afghanistan Wednesday, and attacked several border villages, triggering shootouts with local militias in which at least two people were killed, police said. (AP Photo/Rohullah Shakir)
A member of a Pakistani tribal militia stands with locals outside a school gutted by militants in Nusrat Dara in Dir, Pakistan on Thursday, July 7, 2011. Hundreds of militants crossed from Afghanistan and attacked several border villages in Pakistan, triggering shootouts with local militias that killed at least five people, police said. (AP Photo/Dilawar Jan)
Members of a Pakistani tribal militia tie the hands of an alleged militant they arrested, in Nusrat Dara in Dir, Pakistan on Thursday, July 7, 2011. Hundreds of militants crossed from Afghanistan and attacked several border villages in Pakistan, triggering shootouts with local militias that killed at least five people, police said. (AP Photo/Dilawar Jan)
People comfort a man as he mourns the death of a family member who was shot dead in Karachi, Pakistan Thursday, July 7, 2011. Gunmen shot up a bus and opened fire in several neighborhoods of Pakistan's largest city on Thursday, the latest in a spate of violence that has killed at least 49 people in three days, officials said. (AP Photo/Fareed Khan)
A Pakistani boy comforts a man, left, whose brother was shot dead in Karachi, Pakistan Thursday, July 7, 2011. Gunmen shot up a bus and opened fire in several neighborhoods of Pakistan's largest city on Thursday, the latest in a spate of violence that has killed at least 49 people in three days, officials said. (AP Photo/Fareed Khan)
Members of Pakistani security forces stand near a dead body of an alleged militant killed during an encounter, in Nusrat Dara in Upper Dir, Pakistan on Wednesday, July 6, 2011. Hundreds of militants crossed into Pakistan from Afghanistan Wednesday, and attacked several border villages, triggering shootouts with local militias in which at least two people were killed, police said. (AP Photo/Rohullah Shakir)
A member of a Pakistani tribal militia stands with locals outside a school gutted by militants in Nusrat Dara in Dir, Pakistan on Thursday, July 7, 2011. Hundreds of militants crossed from Afghanistan and attacked several border villages in Pakistan, triggering shootouts with local militias that killed at least five people, police said. (AP Photo/Dilawar Jan)
Members of a Pakistani tribal militia tie the hands of an alleged militant they arrested, in Nusrat Dara in Dir, Pakistan on Thursday, July 7, 2011. Hundreds of militants crossed from Afghanistan and attacked several border villages in Pakistan, triggering shootouts with local militias that killed at least five people, police said. (AP Photo/Dilawar Jan)

KARACHI, Pakistan -- Gunmen opened fire on two bus and waged street battles in Pakistan's largest city Thursday, killing at least 22 people as part of a spate of violence that has claimed 49 lives in three days, officials said.

It was some of the worst strife so far this year in Karachi, a city of 18 million that has long been a hotbed of crime and clashes -- much of it linked to ethnic, sectarian and political divisions. Police had no immediate comment on the possible motives for the latest killings.

At least 22 people were killed Thursday, said Sharfuddin Memon, a security adviser for Sindh province, where Karachi is located. Ten of the victims died when gunmen targeted two buses, he said.

Memon said 27 other people were killed in sporadic shootings Tuesday and Wednesday. He feared the toll could go further high as more violence was reported.

Some Pakistani television reporters wore bulletproof vests as they filed their reports. Live TV footage showed gunmen in makeshift bunkers and exchanging shots.

Karachi's most powerful political party, the Muttahida Qaumi Movement, or MQM, threatened to call for a citywide strike unless the federal government brings the bloodshed under control.

"We reserve a right to give a strike call," said the party's lawmaker, Raza Haroon.

The MQM is suspected of links to some of the armed gangs in the city, as are some rival political parties such as President Asif Ali Zardari's Pakistan People's party and its ally, Awami National Party, a Pashtun origin liberal party.

Irshad Bokhari, another Karachi official, said trucking companies took their vehicles off the road and gas stations were shut down amid the mayhem.

An Associated Press reporter saw roads that were nearly deserted.

"We are kind of imprisoned in our own houses," said a resident, Adeel Anwar.

 

From Around the Web

  +