Protesters torched cars and forced shops and factories to close today in Karachi, Pakistan’s financial capital, after gunmen killed a member of the city’s biggest political party at his home.
Crowds of armed men pulled drivers from their cars and set the vehicles alight, and blocked roads with burning tires, Geo TV reported. The channel said two people died in the violence.
Today’s violence was the worst in Karachi since last August, when more than 1,500 people died in clashes sparked by turf wars between the city’s gangs. Transport companies suspended services and gas stations stopped selling fuel, Geo TV reported.
“The police and paramilitary forces are ensuring violence remains limited, and does not spread to other parts of the city,” Karachi police spokesman Sharfuddin Memon said. He could not confirm that anyone died.
The violence broke out after gunmen killed Mansoor Mukhtar, a worker with the Muttahida Quami Movement, at his home yesterday. His brother and sister-in-law were wounded, MQM spokesman Raza Haroon said.
“Losses during violence such as this one in Karachi, are normally as much as 12 billion rupees ($132.2 million),” said Mian Abrar Ahmad, president Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said on the phone. “There are 18,000 factories here, and a million workers are directly affected by such closures.”
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