KARACHI: Upto 33 people were killed through out the day in Karachi as the recent wave of target killings continued for a third day. The situation prompted the Sindh Government to issue ‘shoot at sight orders’.
In one of the worst forms of attacks during the day, armed men attacked three buses, killing 13 passengers and injuring 20 others.
The MQM, which was rumoured to have called a strike, has announced a day of mourning for Friday.
Meanwhile, transporters union had issued a strike call for Friday.
President Zardari too had taken notice of the worsening law and order situation in the city and demanded a report of the situation. He has also asked Interior Minister Rehman Malik to travel to Karachi and help formulate a strategy to bring peace in the port city.
End of live updates.
Sindh government has decided to give ‘shoot at sight’ powers to police and law enforcement agencies against those suspected to be involved in target killings in Karachi. This was decided at a meeting held at CM House late on Thursday.
The meeting presided over by Chief Minister Sindh Syed Qaim Ali Shah was attended by IGP SIndh, Wajid Durrani, CCPO Karachi, Saud Mirza, DG Ranger and Additional Chief Secretary Home Department Wasim Ahmed.
During the meeting, the IGP and CCPO briefed the CM about the worsening law and order situation in which 64 people had lost their lives within 72 hours. Shah directed the IGP to beef up police forces in troubled areas.
On the other hand, the President while talking notice of the recent spate of target killings has asked Federal Interior Miniter Rehman Malik to travel to Karachi. Sources said that Rehman Malik is expected in arrive Karachi late Thursday or early Friday morning to construct a strategy to deal with the situation and to prosecute the people involved in the menace.
Chief Minister of Sindh, Qaim Ali Shah issued ‘shoot at sight’ orders in a bid to curb growing violence in the city.
CM chairs meeting over security situation. Police and Rangers officials participated in the meeting.
Meanwhile, Interior Minister Rehman Malik has said that those responsible for the violence in Karachi are enemies of the state.
He urged the public to help the government establish peace.
Malik said that all parties are responsible for maintaining peace in the city.
MQM calls for day of mourning on Friday in wake violence in Karachi. The party urged people to wear black armbands to protest the murder of innocent civilians.
Residents in Orangi are under virtual siege. Stores in the troubled areas have been closed for two days and many people are running out of essential items. “Many people here have run out of their food stocks. There is no milk for children and no chance of patients being shifted to hospitals for treatment,” said Mohammad Asghar, a schoolteacher in the Orangi area.
“We are left at the mercy of trigger-happy scoundrels and the security forces are conspicuous by their absence,” he added.
Even ambulances have not been able to reach troubled spots to collect the dead and wounded.
As a wave of violence gripped the metropolis on Thursday, local Twitterati expressed apprehension over the rise in killings, alongside taking jabs at political parties and security officials for failing to bring the situation under control.
A round-up of just a few tweets below:
I’m so pleased that Senator Rehman Malik has “taken notice” of the karachi “situation”. All shall be well now.
Must gather giant packets of flamin hot cheetos and dr peppers for strike!!!
Express 24/7 correspondent Sabin Agha reports that in all 27 people have been gunned down in the city today in one of the worst days of violence the city has seen since the coalition government came to power.
Three buses were targeted in Banaras which killed 13 people. Armed men attacked passengers aboard buses of route W25, 1D and Mashallah coach.
Five people were killed in Orangi town including a six year old girl.
One person each had been gunned down in Korangi, Baldia, Malir, Ram Swami, Gulistan-e-Jauhar and Garden areas of Karachi during the day.
Situation tense in many parts of Karachi including Qasba Colony, Muslim Colony, Bokhari Colony, Kati Pahari, Pehlwan Goth, and Malir.
Agha reported that Orangi town had completely shutdown, and any one who ventured into open spaces was fired upon.
According to Express 24/7, today has been one of the worst days in Karachi since violence erupted after the fall of the coalition government in Sindh.
Escalating violence in Qasba Colony has forced residents to relocate to safer places.
President of Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry urged residents of Karachi to remain calm. He dispelled reports that the MQM had called for a strike on Friday.
Meanwhile miscreants had reportedly torched a factory in Qasba colony. However, officials of the fire department denied knowledge of any such event.
Traffic near Metro cinema has resumed after armed men had opened fire in the area short while ago.
AFP reports that at least 10 passengers were killed and 20 injured when armed men opened fire on two buses in Pakistan’s port city of Karachi, officials said.
“Unknown armed men intercepted two buses on a road in Banaras Chowk neighbourhood and shot indiscriminately on the passengers, killing at least 10 and wounding 20 others,” provincial home ministry official, Sharfuddin Memon, told AFP.
He said identity of the attackers – who escaped via the narrow lanes of the neighbourhood after the assault – was not immediately known.
Unknown miscreants reportedly set six motorcycles on fire at a factory in Qasba colony.
Traffic department reports that the heavy traffic gridlock near National Stadium and Baloch Colony bridges is easing. While traffic on M. A. Jinnah road is less than normal.
The Karachi Transport Union has called a strike in the city till the transporters are provided with protection. President of the union, Irshad Bokhari, says the strike has been called after four buses were targeted by gunmen today.
Meanwhile, Presidency’s spokesperson Farhatullah Babar says that President Zardari is gravely concerned about the continuous acts of violence in Karachi. He said the President has summoned a meeting of top level officials to find an end to violence in Karachi.
According to Express 24/7, at least 27 people have been killed in shooting incidents in various areas of Karachi since this morning raising the three-day death toll to 60.
Fuel pumps across the city have shut down causing great difficulty for commuters.
One petrol pump on Khayaban-e-Bahria has been besieged by hundreds of motorists and people seeking fuel in bottles. The pump manager says that the station is almost bone-dry.
Some commuters waiting in line at the pump said that they had been waiting for as long as four hours to top up their tanks, however hundreds of people on foot, carrying bottles and jerry-cans had encircled the lone working pump at the station.
The president of People’s Party’s Karachi division, Syed Najmi Alam, General Secretary and the infromation Secretary Latif Mughal have strongly condemned the terrorist attack on Express television reporters on Thursday. They demanded the government provide security to media-men as well as innocent citizens.
Express 24/7 Reporter Shaheryar Mirza reports 10 killed in firing on a bus in Banaras, two in Qasba, one in Metroville areas of Karachi within the past hour.
President Asif Ali Zardari has demanded a report on the ongoing violence in Karachi.
Five people have been killed as gunmen opened fire on two buses in Banaras colony.
Karachi violence: MQM meeting ends, no strike announced
Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) elected representatives will protest against the ongoing wave of violence in Karachi.
MQM Rabita Committee members held a meeting to discuss the ongoing violence in Karachi on Thursday.
Speaking to the media in Karachi, MQM leader Raza Haroon said that the party had taken a number of decisions regarding the inaction over incidents of violence in the city. He said MQM Sindh MPAs will march from Karachi Press Club to the Chief Minister house tomorrow (Friday).
Haroon said the MQM had the option of a strike if the government did not take any action and the situation did not improve in Karachi.
He alleged that security forces were not taking action in areas hit by violence and added that the government was punishing the MQM for leaving the coalition.
MQM protest scheduled
Express 24/7 correspondent, Shaheryar Mirza reported MQM Sindh MPAs will protest outside Karachi Press Club at 3pm tomorrow (Friday). MNAs, MPAs and senators will also protest outside the parliament and the provincial assembly but no date has been given as yet.
Earlier, media reports of the MQM announcing a strike had caused panic across the city, with businesses shutting down and citizens lining up at petrol stations for fuel.
The party has not made any announcement of a strike as yet.
The session was summoned in the backdrop of relentless bloodshed in the city, particularly in localities of Orangi Town, including Gulfamabad, Qasba Colony and the Katti Pahari area.
Eleven people have been killed in different shooting incidents across the city since morning.
Three people were shot dead in Baldia Town, Qasba Colony and Gulistan-e-Johar areas of Karachi. Three others were killed near Makki Masjid in the Garden area.
In the latest episode of violence, two people were killed when unidentified gunmen opened fire on a minibus in Orangi Town.
The Express 24/7 news team was also attacked while covering the situation in Qasba Colony.
Interior Minister Rehman Malik has taken notice of the situation and has sought a report from Inspector General of Police (IG) Sindh. He has also issued directives to deploy more security personnel to violence hit areas of the city.
New security team: Eagle Force
IG Sindh Wajid Durrani has said that a new security force, Eagle Force, will be deployed to the violence hit areas of Karachi.
Speaking to trades at Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industries (KCCI), Durrani said the situation in the city was not satisfactory and security agencies were taking steps to restore law and order.
He said criminal elements were trying to create misunderstanding between political groups.
A slideshow of pictures on Karachi can be seen here.