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Pakistani PM Says Army Not The Answer

KARACHI, Pakistan, Aug. 22 (UPI) — Pakistan’s prime minister has indicated sending in the army may not bring peace in Karachi where deadly violence with mounting toll rages.

Speaking to reporters Sunday, Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani referred to growing calls for military action in the country’s largest city, where the latest wave of political and drug mafia-related violence shows no signs of ending.

Gilani said military action can’t be a solution and stressed the need for the “optimal use” of police and paramilitary forces, Dawn newspaper reported. He said the security forces could be strengthened to do the job.

Gilani also said the army cannot be deployed in Karachi without a formal request from the Sind provincial government of which Karachi is the capital.

“Army can be called [into] Karachi only at the request of the provincial government. The federal government will provide all possible assistance to the provincial government in this regard,” the prime minister said.

Separately, the newspaper quoted Karachi authorities that 12 more people died Sunday. They included the bodies of those kidnapped, some bearing torture marks, dumped along roadsides stuffed in burlap bags.

The death toll from the past five days of ethnic and targeted killings rose to 85, Dawn said.

Residents have suffered kidnappings, drive-by shootings and even been hit by rocket-propelled grenades.

Besides the various gangs, the violence has involved supporters of the Urdu-speaking Muttahida Qaumi Movement and the Awami National Party, representing mostly the ethnic Pashtuns.

Until recently the MQM, mostly made up of immigrants from India, has been the main force in Karachi and its politics. However, its role now is under challenge from the Pashtuns. Karachi has a population of 18 million people belonging to various ethnic and other groups.

Various measures taken by authorities have failed to bring peace to the city, further damaging Pakistan’s fragile economy and adding to its other problems related to fighting terrorism and militant violence.

Some reports say at least 300 people have died in the latest round of killings in the city, which began last month.

UPI - United Press International, Inc.

Since 1907, United Press International (UPI) has been a leading provider of critical information to media outlets, businesses, governments and researchers worldwide.

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