In Pakistan, 21 dead in Karachi violence
October 19th, 2010
11:19 AM ET

In Pakistan, 21 dead in Karachi violence

At least 21 people died when gunmen on motorbikes opened fire
in a Karachi marketplace on Tuesday, police in Pakistan said.

Others were injured in the attack, said Rafiq Gul, a senior police
official of Karachi. Violence since Saturday in Karachi has left dozens dead.

In Tuesday's incident, six gunmen riding on three motorbikes carried out
the attack, Gul said.

Police believe recent violence in the city is connected to the
assassination of a prominent politician in August.

The killings began Saturday ahead of a provincial by-election to replace
the assassinated lawmaker from the Muttahida Qaumi Movement, a liberal
political party whose stronghold is Karachi.

The MQM, one of the largest parties in Pakistan, is part of President
Asif Ali Zardari's ruling coalition.

The Awami National Party, a political rival to MQM, boycotted the vote -
which the MQM won by a vast majority - after demands to use election monitors
were rejected.

The MQM mainly represents Urdu-speaking people, who migrated to Pakistan
from India during partition in 1947, while the Awami National Party represents
Pashto speakers - more of whom are moving to Karachi from northwest Pakistan
for jobs.

MQM is wary of the potential strengthening of a second political or
ethnic group in its stronghold of Karachi, and the two parties have been
engaged in bloody battles for years.

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Filed under: Civilian deaths • Pakistan
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