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Saturday, August 20, 2011

No let-up in Karachi carnage as 5 more killed

KARACHI: Insane bloodletting continued in Karachi as five more dead bodies were found in the metropolis, bringing the death toll to 65 in three days, the worst violence in 16 years.

Government is facing increased pressure from business groups to deploy the army in the commercial hub of Karachi after surge in gang and political violence over the past three days.

President Asif Ali Zardari has called a meeting at the Presidency in Islamabad to consider over unabated violence in Karachi and discuss the demands of the MQM with regard to power sharing in Sindh.

Sources said the MQM would be given the portfolio of Interior Ministry and the Local Government which are presently kept by the ruling clique. They said the Police and Rangers were likely to get a free hand in the city to curb the ongoing violence.

Interior Minister Rehman Malik has said that the government and law enforcement agencies were taking serious measures to control criminal activities in Karachi. He said efforts are being made to restore peace in Karachi, a business hub of the country.

He said that several meetings had been held with law enforcing agencies and stakeholders to improve law and order situation in the mega city.

Sindh home minister Manzoor Wassan Saturday claimed that around 100 target killers have been arrested in Karachi.

He said the families of the policemen martyred at Chakra Goth will be paid Rs two million each as relief money. Three policemen were killed in an ambush at Chakra Goth in Korangi area of Karachi on Friday.

On the other hand, the mortuaries at the government hospitals have filled to the capacity due to a constant flow of dead bodies. The government hospitals are now sending the bodies to Edhi morgue at Sohrab Goth, which has a capacity of keeping around 450 bodies.

Tension prevails at the violence-hit areas of the city. Large contingents of police have been deployed in sensitive areas to curb any violent incident.

Fighting erupted on Wednesday in the city's old district of Lyari, long a focus of battles between rival gangs and a stronghold of President Asif Ali Zardari's Pakistan People's Party (PPP), before spreading to other parts of the city.

The Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM), which dominates Karachi, and its rival ethnic-Pashtun Awami National Party have also recently called for army intervention.

But both parties, along with the PPP, are blamed by some officials and observers for links to the criminal gangs as well as engaging in turf wars to gain political space. All the parties deny these charges.

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