Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Karachi shuts down for 'day of mourning'

A body of a target killing victim lies in a mortuary in Karachi on Monday, 22 August, 2011 The killings across Karachi are now increasingly indiscriminate

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The Pakistani city of Karachi is at a standstill after a "day of mourning" strike was called by a political party to protest against weeks of violence.
Businesses, schools and government offices are closed and buses and taxis are off the roads.
Reports say 100 people have been killed in the southern city over the last week in political and gang violence. More than 300 have been killed since July.
Tuesday's strike was called by Karachi's main MQM political party.
Earlier this month the party temporarily withdrew from the PPP-led coalition government of Pakistan after accusing its majority partner of not doing enough to stop the violence.
The government in Sindh province, of which Karachi is the capital, plans to carry out "surgical" operations in the most violent areas of the city, according to the provincial information minister, Sharjeel Memon.
The BBC's Syed Shoaib Hasan in Karachi says that there is an eerie silence on the roads in Karachi.
All markets and businesses are closed and public transport has been suspended, while masked young men have set up roadblocks and set vehicles ablaze, our correspondent adds.
Incidents of gunfire have been reported, but there have been few casualties.
Local trade associations want the army to be deployed to control the situation. They say they have lost hundreds of millions of dollars in revenues due to the closure of shops and businesses.
Violence escalated last week after the killing of ex-MP Waja Karim Dad.
Police say many of those killed were kidnapped first and that some victims appear to have been tortured.
Correspondents say that the killings were initially politically motivated but later appeared indiscriminate. Much of the violence has occurred around the city's deprived Lyari neighbourhood.
Women, children and teenage footballers have been amongst those gunned down and many of the bodies that have been turning up across the city have been stuffed into jute sacks.

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