At least 18 more people were killed on Wednesday during a second consecutive day of deadly violence in Karachi, bringing the death toll to 28 in two days.
While many of those killed were political activists belonging to various parties, much of the violence appeared to be random, with many of the victims simple getting caught in the killing spree launched by as-yet unidentified gunmen in many parts of the city.
Perhaps the most horrific incident was on in a neighbourhood called Zia Colony, where five men were found dead in a pool of blood aboard a bus. Police officials say they have received reports of a bus being chased by three men on motorcycles, but when they arrived at the scene, they did not find any of the perpetrators of the crime.
The epicentre of the violence appeared to be Orangi Town, a large, multiethnic, low-income neighbourhood in the north-western part of the city. The recent spate of bloodshed began on Tuesday when ten people were killed in over two dozen incidents in Orangi after an activist of the Awami National Party (ANP), a party that has the support of a large segment of the city’s Pakhtun population, was attacked.
From there the violence spread, though neither police officials nor political parties have been willing to point fingers at who precisely is responsible for what seems to be an organised attempt at causing mayhem in the city.
In SITE, near an area that has become an ethnic fault-line in the city, several young men were shot dead in indiscriminate firing, according to police officials, who said that most of the dead were labourers who worked at factories in the nearby industrial estate.
ANP spokesperson Qadir Khan claims that seven of his party’s activists have been killed on Wednesday, with a total of 11 killed and 15 injured over a 24-hour period.
At least two activists of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) were also killed, according to police officials.
Karachi has historically been wracked by ethnic and political violence between the cities various groupings since the late 1980s. The most violent year was 1995, when nearly 3,500 people were killed throughout the city.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 7th, 2011.