KARACHI, Pakistan, Aug. 3 (UPI) — Ethnic and political violence in Karachi, Pakistan’s largest city, exploded again overnight with several killed as the government warned of a stern response.
The latest wave of violence in the beleaguered city claimed at least 10 more lives overnight, raising the death toll in shootings and other acts of violence to at least 36 in the past 72 hours, Pakistan Observer reported Wednesday.
The violence comes as Muslims began observing Ramadan, the holy month-long fasting period.
One report said more than 300 people have died since last month in the city of 18 million, which is also Pakistan’s main port and its financial capital.
The cosmopolitan city has been hit by ethnic, political and targeted killing for months. The violence has largely involved members and supporters of the Urdu-speaking Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) and the ANP representing ethnic Pashtuns, with each side blaming the other for the killings.
Federal Interior Minister Rehman Malik, who arrived in Karachi, warned that terrorists had tested the government enough and ordered aerial surveillance of the city.
“Everything has a limit, enough is enough, we are going to take extraordinary measures to restore peace and normalcy in Karachi,” the Observer quoted him as saying.
Malik warned the underworld operating in Karachi that no one can any longer come to the rescue of their gang leaders.
Paramilitary forces have been ordered to take target action, while being given police powers, other reports said.
Anyone identifying a target killer would now get a reward of 5 million rupees ($57,000).
The Daily Times reported that Pakistani Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani, speaking in the National Assembly, rejected any suggestion the leadership of the ruling Pakistan People’s Party planned a division of Karachi along ethnic lines.