Karachi, Aug 1 : At least 27 people were killed today as sectarian and ethnic violence continued unabated in Pakistan's biggest city while provincial Interior Minister assured people that peace would be restored soon. Fifty two people have been killed in the violence since Friday night.
The worst hit place from the violence was Surjani Town where unidentified gunmen set on fire few houses, shops and resorted to indiscriminate firing in which two persons were killed and several injured.
Police said the violence quickly spread to other areas and in Surjani town. Residents were forced to evacuate their homes.The violence-affected areas included Khuda Ki Basti, Pak Colony and Soldier Bazaar, Garden, Gulshan-e-Maymar and Shah Faisal colony.
The provincial Interior Minister Manzoor Wasan after meeting with leaders of the leading political parties, including Mutthaida Qaumi Movement and Awami National Party told reporters that peace would restored in two months time. “The fact is there are criminal elements who have infiltrated into political parties and are causing this violence. All parties have to cooperate with the government in rooting out such elements. I assure you peace can be restored totally to Karachi in two months time,” the minister said. Police officials said most of the killings were related to ethnic and religious disputes between different groups.
Firing was also reported from many parts of the city throughout the day.In a separate incident, unidentified gunmen attacked a textile factory late night in the Gulshan-e-Maymar area on the outskirts of the city and torched around 50 motorcycles parked outside the factory.
The mayhem continued for half an hour before the police and rangers arrived to control the situation. Factory owner Mohammad Ashraf told reporters that the attack took place suddenly while workers were inside the factory and they remained holed up due to the indiscriminate firing by the gunmen who set the bikes on fire. According to media reports, in the month of July 313 people had been killed in the violence. A recent report from the HRCP said 1,138 people were killed in Karachi in the first six months of 2011, of whom 490 were victims of political, ethnic and sectarian violence. In another statement issued on Monday, the HRCP called for a political solution to the violence in Karachi. “Karachi is in the grip of a multi-sided wave of insecurity-driven political, ethnic and sectarian polarization that has greatly undermined its tradition of tolerance and good-neighbourliness,” it said.
“While gangs of land-grabbers and mafias have tried to exploit the breakdown of law and order, they do not appear to be the main directors of the horrible game of death and destruction; that distinction belongs to more powerful political groups and it is they who hold the key to peace.”PTI