Karachi violence toll mounts to 19December 1st, 2008 - 5:00 pm ICT by IANS
Karachi, Dec 1 (IANS) At least 19 people were killed and 150 injured in fresh wave of violence between the ruling Muttahida Qaumi Movemment (MQM) and Pashtun nationalist Awami National Party in various parts of the Pakistani port city, Online news agency reported Monday. The Sindh provincial administration has issued a red alert in the city and deployed more than 500 security personnel to control the situation.
The Karachi city authorities have declared an emergency at all hospitals and all medical and para-medical staff on leave have been asked to report to duty.
Meanwhile, law enforcement agencies have arrested 35 miscreants from different parts of the city.
The rioters set shops on fire at the city’s Timber Market and also torched vehicles in other areas of the city, witnesses said.
Authorities shut down petrol stations across the port city, fearing further damage after mobs set fire to cars.
Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani directed provincial authorities to take “strict action” against those who violate the law, saying “no one will be allowed to put at risk the lives and property of the people”.
Political tensions between the ethnic Urdu-speaking MQM and Pashtuns from the North West Frontier Province who have settled in Karachi for jobs have led to clashes in the past.