Gilani sees foreign hand in Karachi violence; toll rises to 34

May 1st, 2009 - 5:58 pm ICT by IANS  

Yousuf Raza Gilani Karachi, May 1 (IANS) A foreign hand could not ruled out in the ethnic violence that has rocked this southern port city, Pakistani Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani said Friday as the death toll in the clashes rose to 34.
“It can’t be ruled out,” Gilani told reporters in Multan while replying to a question on the possible involvement of a foreign hand in the Karachi clashes between workers of the Muttahida Quami Movement (MQM) and the city’s Pashtun minority community.

A tense calm prevailed in the city Friday following the bloody clashes that started late Wednesday from the Zarina Colony in north Karachi and spread to other parts of the metropolis.

Three people died in different parts of the city on Thursday, taking the death toll to 34, Dawn quoted police and hospital sources as saying, though casualty figures varied.

A teenaged ice-cream seller was gunned down in Khokrapar, and a young man was shot dead in Orangi Town in the limits of Pakistan Bazaar police station. One man died from his bullet wounds at the Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre (JPMC) where he had been shifted in the early hours of Thursday in a highly critical condition.

Police and the paramilitary Sindh Rangers Friday conducted a flag march through the Gulshan-i-Iqbal and North Karachi areas.

Karachi police chief Waseem Ahmed, however, said that 30 people were killed in the ethnic violence, while the police arrested 50 miscreants and seized 17 weapons from them.

He said the Sindh government had assured the police there would be no interference in its functioning.

“We will take stern action against those involved in violent activities irrespective of their political affiliation,” Ahmed maintained.

The MQM, which is Sindh’s second largest political party, is a part of the province’s ruling coalition.

Police surgeon Hamid Padhiyar told Dawn that 32 people were killed in different parts of the city and the victims had been brought to the Abbasi Shaheed, Civil and Jinnah hospitals.

Seemin Jamali, the director of JPMC’s emergency centre, said the bodies of 21 people, as also 24 of the wounded, had been shifted to the facility since Wednesday.

“Of the wounded people, six died at the hospital,” she added.

At least five victims of the violence belonged to different parts of Afghanistan, Dawn quoted sources as saying.

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