The death toll in Karachi reached 19 on Saturday as more people were killed after violence erupted in the Malir area on Friday.
Two people were killed in separate incidents near Urdu Nagar and Mai Kolachi Phatak this morning, while 25 other people were also injured in various incidents.
Amid hollow claims of police and rangers to restore peace in the city, the flailing security situation in the area has induced fear and terror among the people.
17 target killers arrested
Inspector General of Police (IG) Sindh Wajid Durrani has claimed 17 target killers have been arrested from Karachi during the last week, Express 24/7 reported.
Speaking at a gathering, Durrani said the situation in Karachi was under control and army intervention was not required. He said extremists were using names of political parties and disrupting peace in the city.
The IG said operational power of the police will increase when grants and increments worth a total of Rs5 billion will be given to the force.
Updated from print version (below)
Turf wars: 13 dead as another front opens in Karachi
In a city which has still not recovered from the last round of political violence that left over a 100 people dead, Friday marked the opening of a new turf war.
As many as 13 people were killed and over two dozen injured during armed clashes between supporters of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) and its breakaway faction the Mohajir Qaumi Movement-Haqiqi (MQM-H) in various Malir district localities on Friday.
The violence prompted President Asif Ali Zardari to summon Sindh Home Minister Manzoor Wassan to Bilawal House for a briefing.
Speaking to the media later, Wasan said Friday’s violence was a ‘culmination of old hostilities,’ and the president has asked for indiscriminate action against ‘criminal elements.’
Panic spread in large parts of Malir district following rounds of intense firing, leaving markets shuttered and people confined to their homes.
Additional Inspector-General (AIG) Saud Mirza said the violence was triggered after activists of one political party tried to assert their control over an area, adding that this provoked clashes between the workers of the two parties.
He said the violence was confined to “a few areas”, while the remaining areas had been cleared and were under the control of law-enforcement agencies.
Mirza said the victims were mostly completely unconnected with either of the parties, adding that over half a dozen suspects were detained.
Dozens of armed gunmen, bearing sophisticated weapons and communication devices, barged into different areas of Malir and Landhi on motorcycles and twin-cabin luxury vehicles and resorted to indiscriminate firing in MQM-dominated localities, residents claimed.
They said the armed men entered Ghazi Town and Aleemabad around 6:30 am Friday morning. They subsequently moved to other areas of Malir, targeting MQM unit and sector offices and killing people indiscriminately, residents claimed.
Dead and injured
Police sources said that armed men attacked MQM unit offices in Malir and Landhi and exchanged heavy fire with their rivals.
MQM leader Qamar Mansoor told The Express Tribune that 10 party workers were killed in the clashes. Meanwhile, two Awami National Party workers were shot dead in Sherpao Colony and Landhi while an MQM-H activist was gunned down in Quaidabad.
Police Surgeon Sindh Dr Hamid Padhiar confirmed 13 killings and 26 injuries, adding that all of the deceased and wounded had firearm injuries.
Claiming back territory
MQM-H leader Khalid Hameed told The Express Tribune that six of his party’s workers were killed while nearly one dozen were injured.
The MQM-H temporary headquarters, Baitul Hamza, was attacked while party worker’s residence was set on fire in Model Colony, he said, adding that the MQM activists had police and Rangers’ support.
“For 9 years we’ve been waiting for the moment to go back to our homes,” he said. “And now that we tried for the first time after all these years, everyone witnessed the aftermath.”
He claimed that his party has no shortage of ‘men or weapons,’ but they do not wish to disturb the ‘peace’ of the city.
He refuted that their party had the government or any other political party’s backing or that the event was pre-planned.
MQM condemns violence
MQM chief Altaf Hussain condemned the violence in a statement issued on Friday.
“The criminal elements were bent upon spoiling MQM’s efforts to bring peace and stability,” he said.
The party’s coordination committee also denounced the attack on localities in Malir and Khokhrapar.
“The government has failed to act promptly which is highly reprehensible,” members of the committee said.
Meanwhile, Inspector General Sindh Wajid Durrani said that a search operation would be conducted in the affected areas later in the day but no activity was reported until the filing of this report.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 23rd, 2011.