Ottawa Citizen

Un­rest in Pak­istan af­ter at­tack on cleric

16 killed in eth­nic clashes in Karachi

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KARACHI • Pak­istan said it ar­rested sev­eral sus­pects in­volved in Tues­day’s mur­der at­tempt on a po­lit­i­cal leader in Karachi, an at­tack that sparked sec­tar­ian vi­o­lence and killed 16 peo­ple in the na­tion’s com­mer­cial cap­i­tal.

“I can­not dis­close the num­ber but we have made sev­eral ar­rests,” a government spokesper­son in Sindh province said. He con­firmed the death toll in Tues­day’s vi­o­lence, adding the sit­u­a­tion “is un­der con­trol.”

Au­rangzaib Farooqi, leader of the hard line Sunni Mus­lim or­ga­ni­za­tion Ahle Sun­nat Wal Ja­maat, sur­vived an at­tack by gun­men, prompt­ing his party to de­mand a day of mourn­ing, the Dawn news­pa­per re­ported.

Farooqi re­ceived a bul­let wound to the thigh, while five of his guards and chauf­feur were killed in the shootout. En­su­ing vi­o­lence across the city claimed the lives of 10 oth­ers.

Peo­ple with bam­boo shafts and some with pis­tols took to the streets af­ter tele­vi­sion chan­nels re­ported the news of the at­tack. Armed men fanned across the city dur­ing which 10 peo­ple were killed, ei­ther in re­ac­tion or re­lated to the at­tack, the news­pa­per said.

Busi­nesses re­mained closed Wed­nes­day in Karachi af­ter Farooqi’s party called for the day of mourn­ing. Trade unions said they will re­frain from open­ing shops, while trans­porta­tion rep­re­sen­ta­tives said they will keep off roads af­ter two ve­hi­cles were set on fire by pro­test­ers.

Re­li­gious and eth­nic clashes have claimed over 8,000 lives in Karachi since 2008, Geo tele­vi­sion re­ported. The city, the largest in Pak­istan with about 20 mil­lion res­i­dents, is home to Urdu-speak­ing mi­grants who set­tled there af­ter the 1947 par­ti­tion from In­dia, and eth­nic Pash­tuns flee­ing army op­er­a­tions against mil­i­tants in the coun­try’s north.

Pres­i­dent Asif Ali Zar­dari is in the city to com­mem­o­rate the fifth an­niver­sary of the death of his wife, former prime min­is­ter Be­nazir Bhutto, who was as­sas­si­nated in a gun and bomb at­tack on Dec. 27, 2007.

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