(AFP) – Jan 15, 2011
KARACHI — At least 17 people have been killed in a fresh wave of political violence in Pakistan's southern port city of Karachi, officials said Saturday.
Tensions are high between the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) and the Awami National Party (ANP), which each represent different communities in Karachi, straddling political fault lines in the city.
"At least 17 people were killed in targeted killings since Thursday," Sindh province's home ministry spokesman Sharfuddin Memon told AFP.
"Dozens of suspects linked to targeted killing have been rounded up," he said.
Memon said that extra police and paramilitary rangers had been deployed in the trouble-prone western neighbourhoods of Karachi and patrolling had been increased to avert further violence.
Wali Khan Babar, a reporter for the private Geo television station, was also shot dead late Thursday, in a development strongly condemned by journalist unions and civil society organisations.
Police officials confirmed the death toll.
Federal interior minister Rehman Malik went to Karachi on Saturday to help efforts to end the unrest, officials said.
Political violence in Karachi in 2010 was the worst for years, with 85 people killed after a lawmaker was shot dead in August and more than 70 in October on the eve of the vote to elect the MP's successor.
The city is also plagued by ethnic and sectarian killings, crime and kidnappings.
The MQM is a partner in the Pakistan People's Party-led coalition that rules the southern province of Sindh, of which Karachi is the capital.
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