14 killed in Karachi violence (Lead)

August 20th, 2010 - 5:32 pm ICT by IANS  

By Awais Saleem
Islamabad, Aug 20 (IANS) At least 14 people have died in Pakistan’s southern city of Karachi overnight following the target-killing of an Awami National Party (ANP) leader outside a cargo terminal.

Obaidullah Yousafzai, a cargo operator employed with Pakistan International Airlines (PIA), and his friend Saleem Akhtar were Thursday coming out of the PIA cargo terminal when two unidentified people riding a motorbike sprayed their vehicle with bullets. Both of them died on the spot.

The shooting triggered widespread violence that left another 12 people dead.

ANP has announced three days of mourning after the incident.

The city has been gripped by fear and panic and the residents have mostly preferred to remain indoors Friday.

Mobs forcibly closed markets and pelted stones at passing vehicles. They also set on fire a unit office of Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) in the city. MQM and ANP have been engaged in a battle of sorts of late for political hold on the city.

An MQM leader, Raza Haider, was shot dead by unidentified gunmen Aug 2 in a mosque in North Nazimabad area of Karachi, the capital of Sindh province. The MQM had accused the ANP of killing Haider.

The ANP leadership has said it would not tolerate the killing of its leaders. ANP leader Bashir Bilour demanded that the army be called in to take control of the situation if the provincial government was unable to do so.

Meanwhile, Sindh’s Home Minister Dr Zulfiqar Mirza has condemned the murder of the ANP leader and appealed for restraint to restore law and order in the city. He also directed the city police to ensure arrest of the killers.

Karachi has been in the grip of target-killing for more than a couple of years and over 1600 people have lost their lives in related violence. In the fresh wave that started after the assassination of Haider, more than 125 people have been murdered in the largest metropolis of the country.

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