Death toll in Karachi violence reaches 27

Karachi, April 30 : At least four persons were killed today in fresh clashes between two ethnic groups in this southern Pakistani port city, taking the toll in two days of widespread violence to 27.

Several parts of Karachi continued to be tense as armed members of the two groups clashed with each other and burnt at least 10 shops. Four persons were killed in incidents of firing today, TV channels reported. Twenty-three people were killed in clashes yesterday.

All educational institutions in the city were shut down due to the violence that erupted after two activists of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement were found shot dead yesterday. More than 30 people, including four police and paramilitary personnel, have been injured in the violence.

Following the killing of the MQM activists, armed members of a group attacked a neighbourhood in north Karachi. This triggered large scale violence in the central and eastern parts of the city. More than a dozen vehicles and several shops were torched by members of both groups.

The paramilitary Pakistan Rangers arrested 25 people and seized weapons, including rifles, pistols and ammunition during a search operation in north Karachi.

Security forces have been issued shoot-at-sight orders to quell the violence and Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani has ordered an inquiry into the clashes. Karachi has witnessed increasing tensions between supporters of the party and Pashtun groups in the past few months.