Pakistan

Violence in Karachi after lawmaker assassination

Reuters

Violence in Karachi, Pakistan’s financial capital, left 31 people dead overnight after a local politician was shot dead on Monday. Security officials made the connection between the shooting of Raza Haider and the outbreaks of violence around the city, citing political and ethnic sensitivities.

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Bursts of gunfire were reported in various parts of the city and vehicles, shops and petrol stations were set on fire. Vehicles and property were also burnt in Hyderabad to protest Haider’s assassination.

Haider, a member of the Sindh provincial assembly for the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM), a partner in the Sindh provincial ruling coalition led by the Pakistan Peoples Party, was shot dead by gunmen on motorcycles.

The government closed schools and colleges in Karachi and Hyderabad after the shooting. Jameel Soomro, speaking for the Sindh government, said the assassination was part of a broader "conspiracy" to destabilise Karachi.

Local media reported the MQM party was being penalised for raising the voice against the arms and drugs mafia.

Security officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, acknowledge a connection between the violence and Haider’s killing.

"Around 30 people have been killed in different incidents of gun attacks in different parts of the city, and they all seemed to be a sequel to the MP's murder," said one official to the AFP news agency.

Karachi, which has not been targeted by many Taliban and Al-Qaeda bomb attacks, is plagued by violence coming out of ethnic and sectarian tensions.

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