Army Patrols City After Bombs Kill Dozens
HYDERABAD, Pakistan (AP) _ Thousands of soldiers and paramilitary police today patrolled this ethnically troubled city after a series of bomb blasts a day earlier killed at least 45 people and injured 125, police officials said.
Police manned roadblocks and searched vehicles, but most of the streets in this city of 3 million appeared deserted.
Police said they arrested 39 people in connection with the bombings, but no one has yet been charged with the blasts.
Earlier, police said they suspected Sindhi nationalists had carried out the attacks. The nationalists want either greater autonomy for their province of Sindh or independence.
On Sunday afternoon, six bombs exploded in several sections of this city and a seventh ripped through a southbound train as it left Hyderabad station.
Witnesses said the blasts killed a total of 55 people. There was no explanation for their discrepancy with the police toll.
The two largest cities in Sindh province, Hyderabad and Karachi, have become urban battlefields in a war between Sindhi nationalists and Indian immigrants who came to Pakistan following the partition of the subcontinent in 1947.
Sindh governor Fakhruddin Ebrahim appealed to residents of both cities to ″exercise patience.″
He labelled the bombings ″the most heinous act against humanity.″
The leadership of the Mohajir Qami Movement, a politicial party that represents the immigrants, declared a three-day mourning period in Hyderabad and areas of Karachi populated by the immigrants.
In the last several years, more than 1,000 people have died in ethnic violence in Sindh province.
The army has been patrolling Karachi and Hyderabad since May 28.
The immigrants dominate the cities in Sindh while nationalists control most of the countryside.
The immigrants have demanded to be recognized as Pakistan’s fifth ethnic nationality.
The bombs are believed to have been planted by Sindhi nationalists protesting the immigrants refusal to honor a one-day strike called for Sunday. Most businesses in Hyderabad remained open Sunday.
The strike was called to protest the arrest several weeks ago of a Sindhi activist, Qadar Magsi, who was charged with inciting violence.