LONDON, Aug. 4 (UPI) — A peaceful Karachi is integral to a prosperous and stable Pakistan, the British government said amid concerns of ethnic violence.
Ethnic and political violence in Karachi, Pakistan’s largest city, claimed at least 10 lives in recent days, raising the death toll to at least 36 during the first week of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.
Violence has largely involved members and supporters of the Urdu-speaking Muttahida Qaumi Movement and the ANP representing ethnic Pashtuns.
British Middle East and North African Minister Alistair Burt in a phone conversation with officials in Karachi expressed London’s view that stability in Karachi was in the interest of Pakistan and the rest of the international community.
“I said that peace and prosperity in Karachi was necessary to encourage further foreign direct investment which would be vital to Pakistan’s future economic growth and stability,” he said in a follow-up statement.
Pakistani Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani was quoted as saying by The Daily Times newspaper in Pakistan that there were no plans to divide the city along ethnic lines.
“I warned that inflammatory statements from any political party risked making the situation worse and that all political leaders and their parties have a duty to refrain from inciting violence and to reduce tensions and restore calm,” added Burt.